Colonoscopy Screening Intervals Could Be Extended For Some Patients, Researchers Suggest

Dr. Geetanjali Akerkar, a gastroenterologist, right, and Alex Rasiavicus, a radiologist, look at ... [+] images on a computer terminal Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002 at Exeter Hospital in Exeter, N.H. They are looking at images of the inside of a patient's colon which were taken by a computer tomography or CT scanner. A new software program is being tested by Akerkar which would enable health professionals to screen for cancerous growths by using images taken by a CT scanner, weave them together and examine the colon on the computer screen. Traditionally, a patient would have to be sedated and a flexible scope to view growths. (AP photo/Tim Boyd)ASSOCIATED PRESS

The standard advice for average-risk adults (ages 50-66) who have a negative colonoscopy is to have another one in 10 years.

That may be changing.

Researchers at The Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology in Warsaw, Poland believe the currently recommended 10-year screening interval could be safely extended.

The observational study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that a single negative high-quality screening colonoscopy is associated with an 84% reduced chance of colorectal cancer (CRC) and a 90% reduction in death for up to 17.4 years.

Study authors say “only high-quality colonoscopy provided a profound and stable reduction in both CRC incidence and mortality throughout follow-up.”

The study analyzed a screening registry of 276,372 people. Of those, more than 110,000 were excluded because they did not have a negative colonoscopy or they had a family history of CRC or other factors.