Sigmoidoscopes Miss Colon Cancer In Women

    May 19, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A study published in the May 9th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that when it comes to screening for colon cancer, the effectiveness of the tools differs for men and women.

Regular colonoscopies are recommended for anyone over 50 and, according to the study, remains a much more reliable tool than the easier sigmoidoscopy.

Sigmoidoscopy is less expensive, faster and doesn’t require sedation like the colonoscopy which why many patients will opt for it instead.

But recent research has shown that sigmoidoscopy only examines the lower portion of the intestinal tract. Women, who are more likely to develop polyps higher in the tract than men, were also more likely to have lesions go undiscovered with sigmoidoscopes.

“65% of women with advanced precancerous polyps in our study would have had lesions missed if [sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood testing] were the only screening tests performed,” said Phillip Schoenfeld, M.D and his University of Michigan team.

Colon cancer is the nation’s number two cancer killer with 145,000 people diagnosed each year, and about 55,000 dying from the disease.

Diabetes, obesity, smoking, genetics, and nightshift work carry a higher risk of developing colon cancer.