We have all heard doctors say that screening for colon cancer saves lives, so you might be confused by the results of a new Canadian study until you read the last line. The study questions the effectiveness of colonoscopies. Researchers found the colonoscopy to be linked significantly to fewer deaths caused by cancers on the left side of the colon, but not on the right side. The concern was that the bowel cleansing before the screening might not be as good on the right side, leaving polyps that form on the right side harder to find.
That is not to say the problem is with the colonoscopy. Instead, the study suggests that some doctors may not be fully trained to detect polyps that are harder to see on the right side. Dr. Blair Lewis, M.D., said, "I think, if anything, the take home message to people is take their preps, find the right physician to do the exam, but colonoscopy is still the gold standard, it's the way to prevent colon cancer - which is the number two cancer killer in the country right now."
Researchers still recommend that you get a colonoscopy every year after age 50 and sooner if you have a family history of colon cancer. The colonoscopy is still the best procedure we have to find trouble in the colon before it develops into cancer.