Current sigmoidoscopy guidelines ineffective for women — 4 study insights

A study published in BMJ showed sigmoidoscopies had little effect on incidence or mortality rates in women aged 50 to 64, Medical News Bulletin reported.

Researchers studied 98,678 adults without a history of CRC. About 20,552 were screened using a flexible sigmoidoscopy, while 78,126 did not undergo a screening. A portion of the patient group was screened with a combination of sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood testing.

Here's what the researchers found:

1. There was a 34 percent risk reduction in the CRC incidence rate overall.

2. There was a 37 percent reduction in the CRC-related mortality rate overall.

3. Fecal occult blood testing with sigmoidoscopy did not increase CRC screening efficiency.

4. When separated by gender, there was an absolute risk reduction of 0.78 percent in CRC incidence and a 0.33 percent reduction in CRC mortality in men. However, the results showed women hardly benefited from sigmoidoscopy.

Researchers believe the current sigmoidoscopy guideline is not an an effective CRC screening option for women. They suggested women may develop peak levels of CRC almost a decade later than men, which could explain the difference. As a result, they said the one-time screening of women may miss late-developing CRC.

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