The multi-institutional study included experts from various disciplines, including endoscopists, radiologists, pathologists, and epidemiologists. Researchers from the following institutions contributed to the study: Boston University School of Medicine (MA), Erasmus Medical Center (Netherlands), Minneapolis Veterans Administration (MN), Valley Presbyterian Hospital (CA), Cedars Sinai Medical Center (CA), Medical College of Wisconsin (WI), and Mount Sinai Medical Center (NY).
The work was supported by the National Cancer Institute, The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Fund, the Tavel-Reznik Fund, and the Cantor Colon Cancer Fund.
Other studies have found that doctors vary in their ability to find polyps, that certain types of polyps are hard to detect and that colonoscopy is better at finding polyps in the lower part of the intestine than in its upper reaches.
Other screening tests look for blood in the stool, and if it is found, the patient is advised to have a colonoscopy. Another test, sigmoidoscopy, examines only the lower part of the colon. Barium enemas with X-rays can also show some abnormal growths. But sigmoidoscopy and barium enemas are not used much anymore in the United States.
Stool tests need to be done once a year; many people do not comply. In fact, a study from Spain in the same issue of the journal as Dr. Winawer’s article found that when people were offered a stool test, only 34.2 percent took it. The figure for colonoscopy was even worse: 24.6 percent.
Source: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center