Thursday, August 25, 2016


If you are over 50, chances is are that your doctor is telling you to have a colonoscopy. If someone in your family has had colorectal cancer, this might be a wise recommendation, but the procedure is a real pain somewhere (no pun intended).

However, if you and your family are cancer-free, you might do a FIT test instead (this is a fecal immunochemical testing) on a yearly basis as some studies show that it saves more lives and cost the least of any colorectal cancer screening method, including colonoscopy.

I'm referring to a 2010 study by Dr. Steven J. Heitman,of the University of Calgary in Alberta, and this what he and his team found: If no one was screened at all, there would be 4,857 cases of colon or rectal cancer and 1,782 deaths over the lifetime of every 100,000 people in North America. Annual testing with FIT reduced cases of colorectal cancer to 1,393 and deaths to 457. 
Colonoscopy done every ten years, with follow-up exams every 3 to 5 years when polyps were found, would reduce cases to 1,825 and deaths to 624. While FIT was more effective than colonoscopy, it needed to be done every year, while colonoscopy screening is recommended every ten years.

Besides, even though it might seem counter-intuitive that screening with FIT is even more effective than colonoscopy, this is simply due to the more frequent screening interval with FIT.

If the inconvenience of colonoscopy screening are a concern, choosing FIT might be a good option as long as you have no family or personal risks, you conduct the test properly, do it yearly, you follow up with colonoscopy if the test test is positive.

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