Study: Options exist for follow-up colon cancer screening

This Nov. 5 Reuters story says that for people who have a negative colonoscopy, options exist for follow-up screening.

The story is based on a study led by a researcher at the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The story says: "The findings, which are based on a mathematical model, showed life expectancy varied by only a few days between people who continued getting colonoscopies every ten years and those who chose annual fecal blood tests and other less-invasive alternatives.

"The best test for you depends on your risk, your preferences, and which screening approach you are willing and able to adhere to, since no screening is effective unless it's done," she added.

"Patients should talk with their doctors to decide which test is best for them."

Here's the breakdown of the findings:

The researchers found that with no further screening, 31 out of every 1,000 people would be diagnosed with colon cancer during their lives and 12 would die from it. For people who continued having colonoscopies every ten years, that would fall to eight colon cancer diagnoses and two deaths per 1,000 people.

With annual fecal tests starting at age 60, Knudsen and her colleagues calculated that 11 to 13 out of every 1,000 people would get colon cancer, and three or four would die.

And with the last screening method, known as computed tomographic colonography, or CTC, nine people would be diagnosed with cancer and three would die if the tests were done every five years. Like colonoscopy, CTC requires bowel preparation, but otherwise is not as invasive.

Is aspirin right for you?

Check out this article featuring Dr. Whitney Jones, the Project's founder. As a high-risk individual, I found this really helpful when considering whether an aspirin regimine is right for me.

An interesting outtake:

"Now comes news that colon cancer patients who begin, or continue, a low-dose aspirin regime after diagnosis showed a 30 percent lower risk of death compared to non-users.

So why isn't every one popping a daily aspirin?

The studies are very compelling, says Whitney Jones, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of Louisville and founder of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, "but they very clearly state the cornerstone continues to be intensive screening and preventative services, not just aspirin."

In other words, aspirin is not going to replace screening and prevention. And it may not be for everyone."

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