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July 2, 2003

Screening Sigmoidoscopy— How Often and How Good?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2003;290(1):106-108. doi:10.1001/jama.290.1.106

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a member in good standing in the family of screening tests for colorectal cancer. Consistent evidence shows that even a single screening sigmoidoscopy reduces mortality from colorectal cancer by two thirds in the area examined, about half of the large bowel.14 All major screening guidelines recommend sigmoidoscopy, often coupled with fecal occult blood testing.57 In the United States, more than half of patients appropriately screened have had sigmoidoscopy.8 The cost-effectiveness of screening sigmoidoscopy compares favorably with other recommended screening tests for colorectal cancer9 and with screening for other cancers.

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