Longer colonoscopy withdrawal times associated with lower cancer rate

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Colonoscopy withdrawal times of 6 minutes or more are associated with lower colon cancer rates, according to research by a Veterans Affairs team.

The link between colonoscopy withdrawal time and patient outcomes is already known; this study provides strong evidence to support clinical guidelines regarding colonoscopy withdrawal times. Current guidelines recommend a withdrawal time of 6 minutes or more.

In this study, data on colonoscopies performed over 6 years by 51 gastroenterologists in a large community practice were evaluated. The average withdrawal time for the practice was 8.6 minutes; however, approximately 10% of the doctors had individual averages of less than 6 minutes.

The researchers then reviewed the state’s cancer registry for colorectal cancer cases among patients who had been screened at the practice during the study period, including cancers that occurred within 5 years of the last screening.

Referred to as interval cancers, these cancers are assumed to have developed from polyps that were either not detected during the colonoscopy, or not fully removed.

The American College of Gastroenterology acknowledges that some colons can be effectively examined in less than 6 minutes, but these findings show longer colonoscopy withdrawal times correlate with lower risk for interval cancer. The researchers report that further research is needed on quality measures for this screening procedure.

Longer colonoscopy withdrawal times are associated with lower cancer rate
Colonoscopy withdrawal times of 6 minutes or more are associated with lower colon cancer rates.
If a colonoscopy seems like the type of thing you'd like to get done with quickly, think again. Research by a Veterans Affairs team has confirmed that longer-lasting colonoscopies are associated with lower cancer rates. The findings appeared online July 9, 2015, in Gastroenterology. They were based on nearly 77,000 screening colonoscopies.
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