Snippet from the article:

People who are diagnosed with colon cancer after routine colonoscopies tend to have better outcomes and less advanced cancers than people diagnosed based on symptoms, says a new study. Those who were diagnosed with colon cancer as a result of symptoms were three times more likely to die during the study than the patients diagnosed after colonoscopy screenings, researchers found.

“It’s in line with its current use. It shows that colonoscopy appears to be beneficial in reducing deaths in those diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Chyke Doubeni, who studies colonoscopy use but wasn’t involved in the new research.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., according to the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which recommends that people between ages 50 and 75 get screened by colonoscopy every ten years.

Read the rest — Colon cancer screening tied to better outcomes

The good news is that colonoscopy screenings need to be only done every ten years, as these cancers grow very slowly. The bad news is that if the cancer has spread beyond the colon, it is potentially much more difficult to treat.

The study points out that in addition to being more likely to die, 75% of patients that were diagnosed based on symptoms had advanced disease, versus 38% of patients that were diagnosed after colonoscopies. The study’s limitations are also mentioned, in that the data came from a hospital that has more cases of severe colon cancer than other hospitals, which possibly exaggerated the differences found between the two groups.

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