Colonoscopies cut the death risk from colorectal cancer in half, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, whose findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that removing polyps by colonoscopy prevents colorectal cancer - and prevents deaths.
The study followed 2,600 patients who had precancerous polyps removed. After 23 years, the patients' death rate from colorectal cancer was 53 percent lower than a general population of comparable size, age and gender.
"If a 50-year-old is getting a polyp out, it is preventing colon cancer at age 60," said Dr. Paul Farr, a gastroenterologist with Saint Mary's Health Care. "It's the only cancer that kind of announces itself by coming out as polyps first."
Farr added that he hopes the new research will encourage people to overcome their fear of undergoing a colonoscopy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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