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Can Women Wait for First Colonoscopy?

Evidence that adenomas (polyps) develop later in women than in men has experts asking whether women can wait until they are sixty to be screened for colorectal cancer.

Some disagree.  They point out that while women’s risk is smaller in their fifties that possibility still exists.  Obesity, being African American, and having diabetes also increases risk of adenomas and potentially cancer in women.

Dr. Sidney Winawer from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center told MedPage Today,

My opinion has been, and still is, that although the risk in women is lower, it is not zero.

The old message was that colon cancer was a man’s disease. We have to be careful not to regress in our message to women. The way to reduce colonoscopy burden and patient procedure risk is to encourage adherence to the 10-year interval if the colonoscopy is normal, and to encourage adherence to the surveillance intervals if polyps are removed.

Austrian researchers studied cancers and adenomas found during a colonoscopy screening program between 2007 and 2010.  44,350 people were screened, half of them women.  The median age for both men and women was just a little over 60.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyOncology/ColonCancer/28764

 

 

 

SOURCE

Ferlitsch et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume

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