The National Institutes of Cancer (NCI) recently reported (July 25, 2013) several clinical studies about the effectiveness of colonoscopy.
- 10.5 percent of 3,121 mostly male U.S. veterans (average age 63 years) had cancerous adenoma lesions greater than 10mm in diameter.
- In an employee sponsored study of 1,994 adults (ages 50 years and older) who had a colonoscopy screening, 5.6 percent were found to have advanced neoplasms.
- Detection rates as reported by gastroenterologists (the number of lesions per patient screened) ranges from 9.4%–23.7%. Detection rates are also related to how quickly the scope is removed, with six minutes being the optimum rate for higher detection rates of lesions.
A highly-trained endoscopic physician also looks for flat, difficult-to-detect cancer in right side of the colon. A 2011 study found great variability for detecting flat serrated polyps during a routine digital rectal exam. Different types of scopes also provide more advanced detection.
Shekar Narayanan, MD, is a Community colon and rectal surgeon certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network™ in more advanced techniques for diagnosing and treating colorectal cancers.
In the video below, Dr. Narayanan is interviewed about colon cancer. He says, “Catching this cancer early is personal for me, in my family, my grandfather and father-in-law both died from colorectal cancer. I know people worry about the prep for the colonoscopy, and I've tried multiple preps myself, but nothing is more important. If the prep is done completely, I can see evidence of large masses and small polyps. More importantly, we are now picking up more cancers at an earlier stage with screening methods, and therefore, people are living longer.”