February 24th, 2012

Podcast 147: Proof that colonoscopy with polypectomy saves lives

Everyone “knows” that colonoscopy reduces risks of death from colorectal cancer, but it’s good to have your knowledge actually verified, and a new bit of research seems to do that in this case.

Long-term follow-up of a group of patients who underwent colonoscopy and polypectomy in the 1980s shows that removal of adenomatous polyps brought with it a risk of dying from colorectal that was half the risk found in the general population. About 80% of these patients, it should be mentioned, underwent strict surveillance for 10 years after their adenomatous polyps were excised.

This is good news, no? And it offers clinicians a “teaching moment” with their patients who are reluctant to undergo the procedure.

Listen in as we interview Dr. Ann Zauber, first author on the New England Journal of Medicine paper.


Physician’s First Watch coverage of the research (free)

New England Journal of Medicine abstract (free)

New England Journal of Medicine editorial (subscription required)

One Response to “Podcast 147: Proof that colonoscopy with polypectomy saves lives”

  1. Mitsuo Tomita, M.D. says:

    So, of 2,602 older patients with adenomas, 1258 (48%) died during the median of 15.8 years – of which 12 died of colon cancer versus an expected that 25.4 — that’s where you get the 53% reduction in deaths from colon cancer. However, that’s only a reduction of 13.4 deaths out of 1258 or 1% over 15.8 years. Of the 12 that died, in 8 the largest adenoma was found in the sigmoid, rectal or descending colon.

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