Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998
In response to the editorial on colon cancer reduction,1 we would like to point out an additional potentially severe complication associated with cancer screening using a flexible sigmoidoscope or colonoscope—the fairly high probability that the screened patient will be exposed to a contaminated endoscope. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force,2 "An individual's lifetime risk of dying of colorectal cancer in the U.S. has been estimated to be 2.6%." However, as researched by the US Food and Drug Administration and 3 state departments of health3: "A total of 23.9% of the bacterial cultures from the internal channels of 71 gastrointestinal endoscopes grew 100,000 colonies or more of bacteria." As a result, they report that "outbreaks with substantial morbidity and mortality have occurred."
Knapp DA, Michocki RJ, Mays DA. Endoscopists Need to Clean Up Their Act—Literally. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(8):928. doi: