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STUDY: more frequent examinations needed
JOURNAL: Journal of the American Medical Association
AUTHORS: Robert Schoen
ABSTRACT: Colon cancer can develop more quickly than previously thought.Older adults should undergo more frequent examinations to look for the disease
COMMENTARY: Colon Cancer, the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States after lung and breast cancer, was found in nearly 1 percent of 9,000 patients who were shown to be free of the disease just three years earlier.
Precancerous polyps were discovered in 14 percent of the returning patients, who averaged 66 years old.
The patients underwent a sigmoidoscopy, in which a doctor guides a camera-equipped tube through the lower portion of the colon to search for cancerous lesions or polyps.
The study's findings suggested the currently recommended five-year interval between sigmoidoscopy exams and the 10-year wait for a more thorough colonoscopy might be too long.
Colon cancer will be diagnosed in nearly 150,000 Americans this year and will kill 57,000.
The study discovered cancer in places that had been looked at three years earlier, indicating "these lesions ... can crop up in a smaller period of time," said Robert Schoen, who led the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.