Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening benefits sustained over time — 4 insights

Research published in The Lancet examined whether flexible sigmoidoscopy screening benefits were sustained long term.

Researchers recruited patients from ten screening centers across the U.S. From 1993 to 2001, participants received either usual care or flexible sigmoidoscopy at the baseline, then again either three to five years later.

What you should know:

1. Researchers followed-up with patients at 15·8 years for colorectal cancer incidence and 16·8 years for mortality rates.

2. They found colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates were lower in the flexible sigmoidoscopy group than in the usual care group.

3. However, the reduction in mortality was limited only to the distal colon, with no effect in the proximal colon.

4. Incidence rate reductions were significantly larger for men than women.

Researchers concluded, "Reductions in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality from flexible sigmoidoscopy screening are sustained over the long term. Differences by sex and age should be examined in other ongoing trials of colorectal cancer screening to help clarify if different screening strategies would achieve greater risk reduction."

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