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Catching Colon Cancer in Women Can Be Tough
      04/13/04 03:32 PM
HeatherAdministrator

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Catching Colon Cancer in Women Can Be Tough

They're twice as likely as men to get inadequate sigmoidoscopy, study shows


TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDayNews) -- Women are up to twice as likely as men to have inadequate sigmoidoscopy exams due to inadequate depth of insertion.

That concern is raised by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), who report their finding in the Feb. 1 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

The study also found that failure to achieve adequate depth of insertion during sigmoidoscopy increases as patients, both men and women, age. The findings suggest a patient's age and sex are important factors when doctors are considering which colorectal cancer screening method to use.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is one of the most common colorectal cancer screening tools. A sigmoidoscope -- a 60-centimeter-long flexible tube about the thickness of a finger -- is threaded into the patient's rectum and lower third of the colon. The sigmoidoscope has a tiny video camera that lets the doctor to examine the wall of the colon for any abnormalities, such as cancer or polyps.

This study included a review of more than 15,000 sigmoidoscopies. It found the percentage of sigmoidoscopies examinations that failed to reach 50 centimeters into the colon increased from 19 percent in women aged 50 to 59, to 32 percent in women aged 80 or older.

For men, those percentages were 10 percent in the younger group and 22 percent in the older group.

"I had been finding that a lot of my older patients were not getting adequate exams, and I wanted to know whether this was a widespread problem," researcher Dr. Louise Walter, a SFVAMC staff physician in geriatrics and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says in a prepared statement.

"I was initially approaching this as an age issue. But then the gender differences popped up. The most disturbing thing this study shows is that women are twice as likely as men to have an inadequate exam," Walter says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about screening for colorectal cancer. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3X_Can_colon_and_rectum_cancer_be_found_early.asp?sitearea=



--Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Jan. 26, 2004

Copyright 2004 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

http://www.healthday.com/view.cfm?id=517118



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