Is one colonoscopy enough for a lifetime?

I don’t know it it’s Sandy fatigue or election angst, but it’s surprising to me that more than 90 minutes have passed since an embargo lifted on this paper and few news organizations have reported on it – “Rescreening of Persons With a Negative Colonoscopy Result.”  Here’s the paper’s conclusion:

“Compared with the currently recommended strategy of continuing colonoscopy every 10 years after an initial negative examination, rescreening at age 60 years with annual highly sensitive guaiac fecal occult blood testing (HSFOBT), annual fecal immunochemical testing (FIT), or computed tomographic colonography (CTC) every 5 years provides approximately the same benefit in life-years with fewer complications at a lower cost. Therefore, it is reasonable to use other methods to rescreen persons with negative colonoscopy results.”

The authors were explicit about the limitations of their methodology, which you can read in the study if you have access.  An accompanying editorial in the Annals further drove home the limitations.

But this is pretty important, given how so many of us are driven for repeat colon cancer screening – even with a negative result. I’m only a one-man band, but bigger news organizations, it seems, could have been all over this study, applying critical analysis to its conclusions.

As I file this about 90 minutes after the embargo broke, only a handful of news organizations have reported this.

One reported, “1 Colonoscopy May Be Enough for a Lifetime.”  Is it?

Where is everyone else on this story?

Addendum 19 hours later:  I now see on Google search that a few mainstream news organizations such as Reuters Health, and CBC News have reported on the study.  Where is everyone else?  Is colonoscopy the sacred cow? 

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November 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm

My father got bowel cancer when he was 77 (treated successfully with surgery). With a ‘family history’, I duly had my first colonoscopy at age 44, then again at 49. I’d been a vegetarian for 25 years and both colonoscopies were completely negative – in fact my doc told me my bowel looked ‘excellent’. I then decided not to have any more. Why put myself through that and take hypnotic sedatives when I appeared to have no real risk of getting bowel cancer? At age 56 I had a blood in stool test which was also negative. I’ll stick to that test from now on.