In a clinical study
conducted in Italy, researchers followed up on the results of the Italian Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening Trial over the long term. The clinical trial started in 1995 and involved screening patients with a single flexible sigmoidoscopy. These patients were followed up to find out if they developed colon cancer and whether any of them died because of it.
Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide, and its incidence is increasing, particularly in developed countries. Screening for colon cancer is recommended for individuals with a family history of colon cancer and old people, as early detection can improve the chances of successful treatment.
Similar to a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic test used to check the sigmoid colon, which is the lower part of your colon or large intestine. It involves introducing a camera into the colon via your anus and looking at the colonic walls from the inside. Additionally, any suspicious lesions can be biopsied for further workup. Sigmoidoscopy has been used as a screening tool for people at risk of developing colon cancer.
A recent clinical study has looked at the long-term effectiveness of sigmoidoscopy in reducing colon cancer and related death.
The Italian Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening Trial involved over 34,272 participants aged between 55 and 64 years. Half of the participants received a sigmoidoscopy screening test, while the other half did not. The initial results of the clinical trial showed that the sigmoidoscopy screening test could reduce the incidence of colon cancer, as well as reduce mortality rates from the disease. The new clinical study aimed to determine if these results held up over the long term.
The researchers followed up with the trial participants 15 to 19 years after the initial screening test. They found that the participants who had received the sigmoidoscopy screening test had a 33% lower risk of developing colon cancer, and a 39% lower risk of dying from the disease compared to those who had not received the test. The clinical study also demonstrated that the risk of colon cancer was reduced in both males and females.
In conclusion, the trial has demonstrated that the sigmoidoscopy screening test can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer and mortality rates from the disease. The long-term follow-up study has highlighted that the strong protective effect of a single sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer incidence and mortality was maintained for up to 15 and 19 years, respectively.
The findings of this clinical study suggest that at-risk individuals should consult a doctor to ascertain if sigmoidoscopy screening would be beneficial for them.