Monday, March 21, 2011

New Study Finds That Colonoscopies Can Help Prevent Cancer

In the April edition of Consumer Reports on Health, a new study is discussed regarding colorectal cancer -- the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the nation. The report refers to an Annals of Internal Medicine article about a study that compared 1,688 adults aged 50 or older who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer with 1,932 cancer-free adults. The study, published in January, found that having had a colonoscopy in the previous 10 years cut the risk of developing colorectal cancer by 77 percent.

The German study also found that colonoscopies are effective at finding precancerous growths in the right colon, which is considered tougher to screen than the left.

It's good news, especially now that colonoscopies are covered more often under both Medicare and under private insurance, without co-payments or deductibles. It's one way that health care reform is emphasizing preventive care.

Once adults turn 50, Fauquier Health recommends that they receive a colonoscopy every ten years. Those who have had colon or rectal cancer before, or have a family history of the disease, may have to be tested earlier or more frequently.

Ask your doctor if it's time for you to get a colonoscopy. Fauquier Hospital's department of Outpatient Services and Special Procedures performs colonoscopies on an outpatient basis.

For more information about what is involved with a colonoscopy, click here to read advice from Dr. Paul Arnold, gastroenterologist.

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