August 26, 2014 – Which Test?


Anchor lead:  Should you have a sigmoidoscopy rather than a colonoscopy? Elizabeth Tracey reports

There’s no question that examination of the large intestine, either using colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, reduces both the incidence of and death relative to colon cancer.  Now a very large, prospective study has shown that sigmoidoscopy may reduce deaths by 25%, so should you simply opt for this technique rather that the more exhaustive colonoscopy?  Patrick Okolo, a colon cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, offers his opinion.

Okolo:  We clearly know that this is not a waste of your time, and that if you cannot get a colonoscopy, at least get a flexible sigmoidoscopy and you get significant bang for your buck. The question still remains as to whether colonoscopy is superior to flexible sigmoidoscopy in an American population.  Sigmoidoscopy is still a significant tool in reducing both colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer related death.  :25

Okolo recommends talking with your physician about the options.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.