Five-year Screening Interval for Colorectal Cancer Safe Following Normal Colonoscopy

Posted on March 8th, 2009 by

Five-year Screening Interval for Colorectal Cancer Safe Following Normal Colonoscopy

Individuals who have normal results on their colonoscopy don’t need to undergo another colonoscopy for at least five years. These findings were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. A colonoscopy is the most effective screening procedure for colorectal cancer. However, the optimal time interval between repeat colonoscopies following normal results on an original colonoscopy is still under debate.

Researchers from Indianapolis recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the time interval between repeat colonoscopies among patients with normal results from an initial colonoscopy. This trial included 1,256 individuals who underwent rescreening at an average of 5.34 years following their original colonoscopy.

  • None of these patients had colorectal cancer identified on their follow-up colonoscopy.
  • 16% of patients had non-cancerous tumors on repeat colonoscopy; however, advanced non-cancerous tumors were found in only 1.3% of patients.

The researchers concluded: “Our findings support a rescreening interval of 5 years or longer after a normal colonoscopic examination.” All patients, however, should discuss their individual risks and benefits of repeat colonoscopy screening.

Reference: Imperiale T, Glowinski E, Lin-Cooper C, et al. Five-year risk of colorectal neoplasia after negative screening colonoscopy. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008;359:1218-1224.

Related News: Physicians with More Training Perform More Effective Colonoscopies (4/30/2008)

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