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How can a colonoscopy help prevent colon cancer?

Colonoscopy is an examination of the rectum and colon in which a highly trained doctor using a long, lighted scope can inspect the inner walls of the large intestine for abnormalities. Glandular cells that normally line our colons can become aberrant growths called adenomas that begin as small benign tumors but some can progress into cancers.  

Removing polyps during colonoscopy at a benign stage prevents the sequence to cancer development and as such not only prevents colorectal cancer, but also reduce deaths from the disease.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women nationwide. In 2016, the American Cancer Society estimates more than 134,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancers of the colon and rectum. Over 49,000 people will die from these cancers, 1,200 in Virginia.

Studies by the National Cancer Institute published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 showed adenoma removal reduced the chance of death from colorectal cancer by 53 percent.

Daniel J. Pambianco, MD, FACG, FASGE
Charlottesville Gastroenterology Associates
Charlottesville | 434.817.8484

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