Once you reach middle age, your doctor will no doubt tell you to get a colonoscopy. While the procedure itself is quick and done under sedation, the dreaded “prep” of cleansing the colon scares off many people from ever having the test. With colorectal cancer ranking as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, doctors warn having this test after age 45 is a must.
However, a new study from Scandinavia and published in The New England Journal of Medicine is casting some doubt on that. The study compared no cancer screening to those having a colonoscopy for the first time and found only an 18% lower cancer risk in those who underwent the test. Study researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway called the results disappointing. Other experts warn this study had limitations including the fact that only 42% of the people invited to take the test didn’t get it. When results were restricted to those who actually underwent the test, the results show colonoscopies lowered the risk of colorectal cancer by 31% and reduced the risk of dying from it by half.