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Colonoscopy May Be Overused in Low-Risk Individuals

Last Updated: January 07, 2010.

Surveillance colonoscopy is often overused in low-risk individuals without adenomas and underused in high-risk individuals with advanced adenomas, according to a study in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

THURSDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Surveillance colonoscopy is often overused in low-risk individuals without adenomas and underused in high-risk individuals with advanced adenomas, according to a study in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

Robert E. Schoen, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues surveyed 3,627 individuals whose initial colonoscopy had found advanced adenoma, non-advanced adenoma or no adenoma, regarding the timing of surveillance colonoscopy, which was confirmed by reviewing colonoscopy reports.

The researchers found that within five years, 58.4 percent of those with advanced adenoma, 57.5 percent of those with three or more non-advanced adenomas, 46.7 percent of those with up to two non-advanced adenomas, and 26.5 percent of those without adenomas had surveillance colonoscopy. Surveillance colonoscopy in low-risk individuals at baseline could only be partially explained by incomplete colonoscopy, a family history of colorectal cancer, or interval adenomatous findings.

"In community practice, there is substantial overuse of surveillance colonoscopy among low-risk subjects and underuse among subjects with advanced adenomas," Schoen and colleagues conclude.

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