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Colon screening reduces costs and deaths, studies show

Category: Colon

Debate over the usefulness of colon testing has caused some medical professionals to suggest that the test can lead to overdiagnosis and unnecessary spending on treatments, but a new study finds that annual screening is the best way to prevent the various forms of colorectal cancer, which actually saves money.

The study conducted by London researchers showed that screening of patients between the ages of 55 and 60 reduced rates of colorectal cancer by 33 percent.

The researchers said that, while some believe increased testing results in higher numbers of costly treatments, the amount saved by catching problems early and avoiding more aggressive treatments down the road actually results in lower costs, in addition to fewer deaths.

"There's a real problem about the affordability of these drugs," researcher Wendy Atkins told Reuters. "But one way to make them more available is to reduce the numbers who develop these cancers with screening."

Nearly 25 percent of the population was diagnosed with some form of colorectal cancer in 2007, according to the most recent available statistics from the National Cancer Institute.

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