Study: Colonoscopy Cuts Colon Cancer Death Risk


February 23, 2012

USA Today

LOS ANGELES – Millions of people have endured a colonoscopy, believing the dreaded exam may help keep them from dying of colon cancer. For the first time, a major study offers clear evidence that it does.

Removing precancerous growths spotted during the test can cut the risk of dying from colon cancer in half, the study suggests. Doctors have long assumed a benefit, but research hasn't shown before that removing polyps would improve survival — the key measure of any cancer screening's worth.

Some people skip the test because of the unpleasant steps need to get ready for it.

"Sure, it's a pain in the neck. People complain to me all the time, 'It's horrible. It's terrible,'" said Dr. Sidney Winawer, a gastroenterologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who helped lead the study. "But look at the alternative." Read More