• 16-JUN-2015

Higher-Quality Colonoscopy Screenings Associated with Lower Risk of Colon Cancer Death without Increased Costs

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, even though early detection through screening can often prevent the development of colon cancer. But while colonoscopy is considered the gold standard for screening, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania, the quality of the actual colonoscopy is also important.

By identifying and removing small cancers and pre-cancerous polyps called adenomas, screening colonoscopies can decrease the risk of death from colon cancer. One way to assess quality is to measure how often these procedures identify pre-cancerous polyps, known as the adenoma detection rate. A new study examined how different adenoma detection rates might affect colon cancer outcomes and cost.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania used clinical information from more than 57,000 patients who underwent colonoscopy by 136 gastroenterologists from the Kaiser Permanente System. The data, including adenoma detection rate were incorporated into a mathematical model to estimate real life outcomes based on different adenoma detection rates, colon cancer related deaths and costs of screening.

The results show that the higher the quality of the test (adenoma detection rate), the greater the benefit from the screening with no additional costs.