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June 1, 1994

Family Medicine

JAMA. 1994;271(21):1670-1671. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450042023

The practice of medicine advanced in several areas of particular importance to family physicians, including health promotion, disease prevention, women's health care, and the care of children. The important role of family physicians in providing primary medical care critical in any health system reform has been enhanced and supported by these and other medical developments.

The value of screening for colorectal carcinoma with either flexible sigmoidoscopy or fecal occult blood testing has been emphasized and more clearly defined. The risk of death due to carcinoma of the colon among patients undergoing at least one sigmoidoscopic examination was shown to be reduced by 80% compared with that among those not undergoing such an examination.1 A study of rigid sigmoidoscopy showed a roughly equal reduction in mortality, approximately 60%, with the benefit confined to carcinomas within the reach of the sigmoidoscope.2 Flexible sigmoidoscopy, used more frequently by family physicians, would