Some people may be safe for having colon cancer screening every 15 years

Daily Mail

If you have had a negative colonoscopy for colorectal cancer and have no family history, you might not need another screening for 15 years.
Changing colorectal cancer guidelines would ideally reduce the cost and potential harm of unnecessary colonoscopies while still maintaining cancer prevention.
That means the prevalence of colorectal cancer (incidence) and how often deaths (mortality) related to colorectal cancer occurred in the populations.
As with any kind of medical procedure, colorectal cancer screening and colonoscopies have risks and benefits that need to be evaluated.
The goal of redefining colorectal cancer screening recommendations is about creating the most benefit in detecting cancer early while also reducing potential harm from unnecessary colonoscopies.
Colorectal cancer is a serious and deadly cancer, but many Americans still do not follow recommended screening guidelines that require regular testing.
It is estimated that 35,000 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented annually through adherence to regular screening.
The American Cancer Society recommends that adults start colorectal cancer screening at age 45 and continue through age 75.


You may be spared a follow-up screening for 15 years if your colonoscopy revealed no evidence of colorectal cancer and you have no family history.

The standard recommendation is to wait ten years between colonoscopies, but healthy people may be able to wait longer.

Reducing the expense and possible harm of needless colonoscopies while maintaining cancer prevention would be the ideal outcome of changing colorectal cancer guidelines.

Every ten years is the recommended interval for colonoscopies according to most colorectal cancer screening guidelines, but healthy people who have no family history of the disease may choose to wait even longer.

According to a Swedish population study, individuals without a family history of colorectal cancer who have had an initial colonoscopy and tested negative for the disease may not require another screening for 15 years.

JAMA Oncology published the study’s findings today.

“It may be equally safe and effective to wait fifteen years after a negative first colonoscopy as it is to wait the current recommended ten years. The study’s senior author, Mahdi Fallah, MD, PhD, a researcher at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, told Healthline that “this could save people from unnecessary procedures and free up resources for important colon cancer screening programs.”.

Other experts, however, disputed the findings, pointing out that although they were solid, the conclusion might not be easily applied to more diverse populations living outside of Sweden, like those in the US.

“This is a really well-done study using a sizable database, and their suggestions seem appropriate for the people they study. Healthline was informed by Reid Ness, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Health, that “there’s reason to believe they may not be translatable to the US or other populations.”. Ness had nothing to do with the research.

Fallah and his colleagues combed through cancer outcomes spanning almost three decades using multiple sizable Swedish health and population databases.

The objective of the team was to analyse the differences in colorectal cancer outcomes between people who had never had a colonoscopy and those who had one and had received a negative result.

The study included over 110,000 Swedish adults (of whom approximately 60% were women) who, in one population, had undergone their first colonoscopy between 1990 and 2016. The participants were 59 years old on average. A further documented risk factor for colorectal cancer that none of the participants had was inflammatory bowel disease.

In order to compare results, members of this group were matched against members of a control group who did not undergo a colonoscopy.

The 10-year standardized incidence ratio and the 10-year standardized mortality ratio were the two that the researchers focused on. This denotes the incidence and mortality rates of colorectal cancer in the various population groups.

They discovered that over the next ten years, there was a “significantly lower” chance of colorectal cancer development and death in the group that had negative results from their initial colonoscopies. Their research enabled them to go beyond the conventional 10-year interval between colonoscopies and came to the conclusion that, in this healthy population, a 15-year interval might be adequate.

“In this population, we might miss two additional cases of colorectal cancer and one colorectal cancer death per 1000 individuals if we delayed a second colonoscopy for 15 years as opposed to 10 years. However, approximately one unnecessary colonoscopy would be avoided for each person, according to Fallah.

It’s reasonable to question why physicians are suggesting fewer rather than more colorectal cancer screenings if you’re reading this. Colorectal cancer screening and colonoscopies have risks and benefits that should be considered, just like with any medical procedure.

In the end, screening recommendations are a matter of societal value judgments. There is never, in my opinion, a right or wrong answer when it comes to CRC [colorectal cancer] diagnoses and mortality. Christopher Chen, MD, an assistant professor of oncology and director of early drug development at the Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford Medicine, told Healthline that there is an acceptable risk in these cases. Chen did not work on the research project.

Redefining colorectal cancer screening guidelines aims to minimize potential harm from needless colonoscopies while simultaneously optimizing the benefit of early cancer detection.

Reducing the frequency of colonoscopies is a valid concern because of the potential risks associated with them. Even though they are rare, physical side effects are a possibility for colonoscopies in addition to the hassle of scheduling, preparing, and paying for one. The most frequent colonoscopy side effects are bleeding and perforation, with the latter occurring in roughly 3 out of every 10,000 procedures.

Chen stated, “It’s obviously not a trivial issue.”.

“The procedure carries a risk of injury, to start with. And there’s the social cost. Ness continues, “The cost of further colonoscopies is substantial.

The cells of the colon and rectum are affected by colorectal cancer. It ranks as the second most common cause of deaths from cancer overall. Colorectal cancer most often starts out as small growths known as polyps. Some polyps will eventually turn into cancer, even though the majority may be benign.

Despite the fact that colorectal cancer is a dangerous and often fatal cancer, many Americans continue to disregard screening recommendations that call for routine testing. Slightly over 60% of individuals aged 45 to 75 years undergo screening for colon cancer, which can involve a colonoscopy or a home test. Following routine screening guidelines could potentially avert 35,000 colorectal cancer-related deaths each year.

According to the American Cancer Society, screening for colorectal cancer should begin in adults at age 45 and continue until age 75.

The “gold standard” for screening for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy.

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