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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Don't Let Haste In your Waist Make Waste: Colon cancer screening

Colonoscopy (examination by a doctor of your large intestine via a flexible scope) can detect and snip out cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps before they become harmful, and is recommended for 50-year olds. However, some doctors perform it more carefully and thorougly than others, and detect more polyps. Hasty doctors may catch only one-tenth as many as more careful ones! Doctors who take more time looking find more of them. On average, about a fifth of colonoscopy procedures detect one or more pre-cancerous polyps.

Lesson for Caregivers: If your doctor, or spouse's doctor, has a very low rate of detection of polyps, that may be a sign that their haste in doing the procedure has been causing them to miss many cancerous and pre-cancerous growths. Ask beforehand! If the doctor's detection rate is low, or unknown, find another doctor. Otherwise, you may find after your colonoscopy that you're left with the discomfort, the bill, AND. still, the polyps.

Share this with your friends who are about to have the big 5-0 birthday.

Read more in Gina Kolata's New York Times article: "Study Questions Colonoscopy's Effectiveness," Dec. 14, 2006, page A23.

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