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April 29, 1968

Routine Proctosigmoidoscopy

JAMA. 1968;204(5):405. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140180055022

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To the Editor:—  The remarkable public and physician acceptance of routine cervical cytology contrasts with a curious lack of interest in routine proctosigmoidoscopy. Both diagnostic procedures require about the same time, both demand positioning, both need special equipment, and both are embarrassing and uncomfortable to the patient.The American Cancer Society estimated that 44,000 patients died from cancer of the colon and rectum during 1967 as compared to 10,000 deaths from cancer of the cervix.A 65% to 75% incidence of colorectal cancer within reach of the sigmoidoscope is a well-accepted figure; during the foreseeable future routine proctosigmoidoscopy will remain our only means of finding early curable cancer. Too frequently our responsibility to the patient has been neglected for routine proctosigmoidoscopy on all general physical examinations in the age group at risk for cancer.Several advances in preparation and instrumentation promise a sufficient improvement in methodology so that sigmoidoscopy can