Current screening guidelines still effective after negative colonoscopy — 3 study insights

Written by Eric Oliver | February 07, 2019 | Print  |

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the long-term risk of colorectal cancer and related mortality in average-risk patients after a colonoscopy with negative results.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 1,251,318 patients from a northern California health system. Of the cohort, 613,692 patients were men and the mean age was 55.6 years. Researchers conducted the study from Jan. 1, 1998 to Dec. 31, 2015.

What they found:

1. Patients with negative colonoscopy results had a reduced risk of CRC and CRC-related death.

2. Risk was reduced with subsequent follow-ups.

3. When rescreening a decade later — per current guideline recommendations — patients had a 46 percent lower risk of developing CRC and an 88 percent lower chance of CRC-related death.

Researchers concluded, "A negative colonoscopy result in average-risk patients was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer and related deaths for more than 12 years after examination, compared with unscreened patients. Our study findings may be able to inform guidelines for rescreening after a negative colonoscopy result and future studies to evaluate the costs and benefits of earlier vs. later rescreening intervals."

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