The One Question You Need to Ask Before Your Colonoscopy

If you’re due for a colonoscopy, you undoubtedly have at least a few questions for your gastroenterologist. But are you asking the most important question of all: “What is your adenoma detection rate?” A new study suggests that the answer to this question could affect your risk of developing colon cancer.

The study’s findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that there is an association between a doctor’s adenoma detection rate and the patient’s colon cancer risk. Analyzing health records of more than 224,000 California patients, researchers found that doctors with higher adenoma detection rates had patients who were less likely to develop colon cancer or die from the disease. For every one percent increase in a doctor’s adenoma detection rate, the patient’s risk of developing colon cancer over the next ten years decreased by three percent.

Lead study author, Douglas Corley, M.D., believes that this is association is due to the removal of precancerous growths, which do not have the opportunity to progress into colon cancer. Corley remarked that these findings are the “first step” in making adenoma detection rates available to the public as a measure of quality.

So what kind of adenoma detection rate is a good one? The recommended benchmark for adenoma detection is 25 percent or higher in men and 15 percent or higher in women. However, adenomas are more common in men than women, so the demographic of patients treated by your doctor can affect the overall score to some degree (Source: Newsmax Health).

Colonoscopies are the gold standard in preventing colon cancer, so you want to make sure you receive a quality procedure by a skilled professional. Ask your gastroenterologist to provide information about his or her adenoma detection rate. While doctors are not required to share this information with you, their willingness to do so is a good indication that they are committed to providing top-notch care.

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