AGA recommends pivot from colonoscopy-only testing

A team of 60 gastroenterology experts recommended gastroenterologists move on from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to colorectal cancer screening, in a new preprint study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The American Gastroenterological Association released a study that recommends gastroenterologists approach screening by using better risk assessment and more noninvasive testing, as well as recommending colonoscopy to patients only when it's the most beneficial.

While current approaches have resulted in 67 percent undergoing screening for CRC, that "means that a third are not [getting screened]," said AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology Chair Srinadh Komanduri, MD.

Colonoscopy is still considered the top-line screening method and should still be the default option for all high-risk individuals, but for lower risk individuals AGA recommends integrating noninvasive screening methods, like fecal occult blood testing, into a colonoscopy screening protocol.

Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center professor Joshua Melson, MD, said, "If we offered tests that were convenient, accurate, and of lower cost, and we could help people choose the best option based on their individual cancer risks, we would save more lives."

The recommendations come at a time when the COVID-19-pandemic delayed screening colonoscopy because of the risk of virus transmission. Screening colonoscopy delays have endangered patients' health and could lead to an increase in missed CRC cases and CRC mortality.

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