Health, Zoomer Report

New Colonoscopy Guidelines

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Have you or your loved ones been getting colonoscopies starting at the age of 50? Now, new Canadian guidelines say this method should not be used for routine screening to detect colorectal cancer in patients with no symptoms or family history of the disease.

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care strongly recommends that low-risk patients aged 50 to 74 be screened using fecal occult blood tests every two years or sigmoidoscopy every 10 years.

Sigmoidoscopy involves the insertion of a flexible scope to view the lower part of the colon and rectum rather than the entire tract, as a colonoscopy does.

The task force also advises against screening patients who are over 75 and have no symptoms because of their reduced life expectancy and the lack of research showing benefit or potential harms of the tests.

These guidelines do not apply to high-risk patients who have symptoms or a family history.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in men and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women.More than 9000 Canadians die from the disease annually.

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