Colon Cancer Screenings Work, Twin Studies Report

Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and even fecal blood testing all lower risk of cancer death

HealthDay SHARE

The blood test may have some potential advantages over colonoscopy, Levin added.

Patients have to undergo an uncomfortable cleansing process prior to a colonoscopy using powerful laxatives, and if they fail to properly cleanse their colon, it could hamper doctors' ability to detect pre-cancerous polyps. Colonoscopy also can miss smaller lesions.

"It may be that a moderately sensitive test that is done more often will have a better chance of detecting colon cancer or preventing death from colon cancer," Levin said.

The upshot of all this is that everyone should use at least one of these screening methods as recommended, Brooks said. Experts recommend that people get a colonoscopy every 10 years, flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or fecal blood testing every year.

"My hope is people will see these studies and realize there is potential value in all these tests," Brooks said. "Choosing any one of them is far superior to not being tested."

More information

For more information on colon cancer screening, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.