The American Cancer Society has long recognized that colonoscopy is an important tool for screening patients for colorectal cancer and also a treatment tool when precancerous polyps are detected. A recent study confirms the effectiveness of colonoscopy for treatment: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1100370.
This study shows that polypectomy (removal of precancerous polyps using a colonoscope) prevents polyps from progressing to cancer. When utilized, the treatment saves lives.
Colonoscopy has been recommended by the American Cancer Society as a screening tool to look for polyps or other signs of early cancer. When colon, rectal or anal cancers (collectively called “colorectal cancer”) are caught early, the chances for survival are excellent. However, when physicians do not advise patients about the necessity for screening or fail to prescribe colonoscopy at the first sign of symptoms of colorectal cancer, the delay can be deadly. When there is a delay in diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, it progresses from an early, treatable stage to an advanced, metastatic stage with a very poor prognosis. Unfortunately, some physicians will ignore new symptoms of colorectal cancer until it is too late or fail to incorporate lifesaving screening protocols into their practices. These mistakes constitute a common form of medical malpractice.
For more information about screening recommendations published by the American Cancer Society, click here: