Should the presence of iron deficiency anemia be part of the decision-making as to whether to examine the entire colon when patients have symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Researchers reviewed hemoglobin levels for 194 patients who had surgery for colon cancer in right-hand or ascending portion of the colon (*right hemicolectomy*). 44% of men and 57% of women met definitions for anemia. Even when less a stringent definition of “low hemoglobin” were used, not all patients were found to be anemic.
It is not possible to rule out right-sided colon cancer if symptomatic patients are not anemic, and a full examination of the colon with colonoscopy is essential when patients have symptoms of colorectal cancer. At the same time, unexplained anemia may be a sign of right-sided colon cancer and should also be evaluated with colonoscopy.
Study results appear in the November 2005 issue of [Colorectal Disease](http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bsc/cdi/2005/00000007/00000006/art00010) The authors concluded,
Anaemia is a poor predictor of right-sided colon cancers and cannot be used as an effective investigative tool in symptomatic patients.