Colonoscopes Most Effective In TestThe Associated Press June 15, 2000
A study by Dr. Sidney Winawer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York shows that colonoscopies are more effective in detecting cancerous growths in the colon than barium enemas.
In a 10 year study it was shown that colonoscopies caught nearly all polyps that might turn cancerous, while barium enemas missed about half. The older barium enema procedure is being replaced by newer colonoscopy technology.
Participating in the study were 500 patients who had at least one potentially cancerous polyp removed. Barium enemas and colonoscopies were performed on each patient, and 387 potentially cancerous growths were found. Almost all were found with the colonoscope, and the barium enema only spotted about 30 percent.
Barium enemas are less expensive and involve less short term risk. Dr. Robert Fletcher of the Harvard Medical School indicates that this study will reduce the use of barium enemas.