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Colonoscopy has proven itself in cancer screening
Preventive colonoscopy (colonoscopy) has proven to be an effective means of preventing cancer. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), who evaluated data from the first ten years of screening colonoscopy. Accordingly, a malignant tumor is discovered in one of 121 colonoscopies. In total, around 180,000 cancer precursors were removed within the ten-year period.
Colonoscopy revealed 180,000 cancer precursors within ten years. Germany was one of the first countries in the world to include colonoscopy in the statutory cancer prevention program in 2002. An investigation by the DKFZ now proves the usefulness of the investigation. “In order to find a precancer and thus avoid a cancer case, 28 colonoscopies have to be performed. A malignant tumor is detected early in one of 121 examinations. But only one in 1,089 examinations leads to overdiagnosis, ”explains Michael Hoffmeister, one of the authors of the work.
The researchers evaluated data from a total of 4.4 million colonoscopies. "This is the most comprehensive evaluation of the national screening colonoscopy program to date," explains study leader Prof. Hermann Brenner, who carried out the calculations. In addition to the 180,000 precancerous stages, the doctors also discovered more than 40,000 cases of colon cancer at an early stage, in which a cure is usually still possible.
Colonoscopy around the age of 60 most often prevents cancer. The best chances of preventing colon cancer with a colonoscopy are around the age of 60. The older the risk of overdiagnosis increases, according to a DKFZ announcement. “For participants under 75 years of age, only 0.4 percent of colonoscopies result in overdiagnosis - this makes screening colonoscopy much better than other programs for the early detection of cancer. In mammography, for example, a significantly higher percentage of examinations leads to overdiagnosis, ”emphasizes Hoffmeister. Overdiagnosis by medical professionals means cases in which the disease was recognized correctly, but the finding would never have been conspicuous if it had not been searched for.
The Secretary General of the German Cancer Society, Johannes Bruns, spoke positively to the news agency "dpa" about the study. A review of how often a benign tumor actually becomes carcinoma is desirable. "If you take that into account, one or the other statement would have to be defused," says Bruns. Compared to breast cancer screening, colonoscopy, however, is much less likely to overdiagnose. (Ag)