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DDW: Colonoscopy Found Superior to Sigmoidoscopy

Last Updated: May 11, 2011.

The risk of new or missed colorectal cancers is substantially higher after flexible sigmoidoscopy than colonoscopy in older adults, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week 2011, held from May 7 to 10 in Chicago.

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of new or missed colorectal cancers (CRCs) is substantially higher after flexible sigmoidoscopy than colonoscopy in older adults, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week 2011, held from May 7 to 10 in Chicago.

To compare the rate of new or missed CRC after flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, Yize Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic Florida in Jacksonville, and colleagues reviewed the national Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Medicare linked database for patients aged 67 and older who were diagnosed with CRC in the left colon between 1998 and 2005.

Of the more than 25,500 individuals who had undergone a lower endoscopy, the investigators found that 849 were diagnosed with CRC six to 36 months after the procedure. The data revealed that, in these individuals, the rate of new or missed left-sided CRCs after flexible sigmoidoscopy was 12 percent, about four times the rate after colonoscopy.

"Despite its imperfections, colonoscopy remains the gold standard for detecting or preventing colorectal cancer," Wang said in a statement. "Older patients should undergo colonoscopy instead of flexible sigmoidoscopy."

Abstract No. 906
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