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      Colorectal-Cancer Incidence and Mortality with Screening Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

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          Abstract

          The benefits of endoscopic testing for colorectal-cancer screening are uncertain. We evaluated the effect of screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy on colorectal-cancer incidence and mortality. From 1993 through 2001, we randomly assigned 154,900 men and women 55 to 74 years of age either to screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy, with a repeat screening at 3 or 5 years, or to usual care. Cases of colorectal cancer and deaths from the disease were ascertained. Of the 77,445 participants randomly assigned to screening (intervention group), 83.5% underwent baseline flexible sigmoidoscopy and 54.0% were screened at 3 or 5 years. The incidence of colorectal cancer after a median follow-up of 11.9 years was 11.9 cases per 10,000 person-years in the intervention group (1012 cases), as compared with 15.2 cases per 10,000 person-years in the usual-care group (1287 cases), which represents a 21% reduction (relative risk, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 0.85; P<0.001). Significant reductions were observed in the incidence of both distal colorectal cancer (479 cases in the intervention group vs. 669 cases in the usual-care group; relative risk, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.80; P<0.001) and proximal colorectal cancer (512 cases vs. 595 cases; relative risk, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76 to 0.97; P=0.01). There were 2.9 deaths from colorectal cancer per 10,000 person-years in the intervention group (252 deaths), as compared with 3.9 per 10,000 person-years in the usual-care group (341 deaths), which represents a 26% reduction (relative risk, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.87; P<0.001). Mortality from distal colorectal cancer was reduced by 50% (87 deaths in the intervention group vs. 175 in the usual-care group; relative risk, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.64; P<0.001); mortality from proximal colorectal cancer was unaffected (143 and 147 deaths, respectively; relative risk, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.22; P=0.81). Screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy was associated with a significant decrease in colorectal-cancer incidence (in both the distal and proximal colon) and mortality (distal colon only). (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; PLCO ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00002540.).

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          Most cited references 35

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          Cancer statistics, 2011: the impact of eliminating socioeconomic and racial disparities on premature cancer deaths.

          Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the United States in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A total of 1,596,670 new cancer cases and 571,950 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the United States in 2011. Overall cancer incidence rates were stable in men in the most recent time period after decreasing by 1.9% per year from 2001 to 2005; in women, incidence rates have been declining by 0.6% annually since 1998. Overall cancer death rates decreased in all racial/ethnic groups in both men and women from 1998 through 2007, with the exception of American Indian/Alaska Native women, in whom rates were stable. African American and Hispanic men showed the largest annual decreases in cancer death rates during this time period (2.6% and 2.5%, respectively). Lung cancer death rates showed a significant decline in women after continuously increasing since the 1930s. The reduction in the overall cancer death rates since 1990 in men and 1991 in women translates to the avoidance of about 898,000 deaths from cancer. However, this progress has not benefitted all segments of the population equally; cancer death rates for individuals with the least education are more than twice those of the most educated. The elimination of educational and racial disparities could potentially have avoided about 37% (60,370) of the premature cancer deaths among individuals aged 25 to 64 years in 2007 alone. Further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population with an emphasis on those groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket. CA Cancer J Clin 2011. © 2011 American Cancer Society.
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            Reducing mortality from colorectal cancer by screening for fecal occult blood. Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study.

             J Mandel,  J H Bond,  T Church (1993)
            Although tests for occult blood in the feces are widely used to screen for colorectal cancers, there is no conclusive evidence that they reduce mortality from this cause. We evaluated a fecal occult-blood test in a randomized trial and documented its effectiveness. We randomly assigned 46,551 participants 50 to 80 years of age to screening for colorectal cancer once a year, to screening every two years, or to a control group. Participants who were screened submitted six guaiac-impregnated paper slides with two smears from each of three consecutive stools. About 83 percent of the slides were rehydrated. Participants who tested positive underwent a diagnostic evaluation that included colonoscopy. Vital status was ascertained for all study participants during 13 years of follow-up. A committee determined causes of death. A single pathologist determined the stage of each tissue specimen. Differences in mortality from colorectal cancer, the primary study end point, were monitored with the sequential log-rank statistic. The 13-year cumulative mortality per 1000 from colorectal cancer was 5.88 in the annually screened group (95 percent confidence interval, 4.61 to 7.15), 8.33 in the biennially screened group (95 percent confidence interval, 6.82 to 9.84), and 8.83 in the control group (95 percent confidence interval, 7.26 to 10.40). The rate in the annually screened group, but not in the biennially screened group, was significantly lower than that in the control group. Reduced mortality in the annually screened group was accompanied by improved survival in those with colorectal cancer and a shift to detection at an earlier stage of cancer. Annual fecal occult-blood testing with rehydration of the samples decreased the 13-year cumulative mortality from colorectal cancer by 33 percent.
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              Screening and surveillance for the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: a joint guideline from the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology.

              In the United States, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed among men and women and the second leading cause of death from cancer. CRC largely can be prevented by the detection and removal of adenomatous polyps, and survival is significantly better when CRC is diagnosed while still localized. In 2006 to 2007, the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology came together to develop consensus guidelines for the detection of adenomatous polyps and CRC in asymptomatic average-risk adults. In this update of each organization's guidelines, screening tests are grouped into those that primarily detect cancer early and those that can detect cancer early and also can detect adenomatous polyps, thus providing a greater potential for prevention through polypectomy. When possible, clinicians should make patients aware of the full range of screening options, but at a minimum they should be prepared to offer patients a choice between a screening test that primarily is effective at early cancer detection and a screening test that is effective at both early cancer detection and cancer prevention through the detection and removal of polyps. It is the strong opinion of these 3 organizations that colon cancer prevention should be the primary goal of screening.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                June 21 2012
                June 21 2012
                : 366
                : 25
                : 2345-2357
                10.1056/NEJMoa1114635
                3641846
                22612596
                © 2012
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