We have information on our site here that shows the results of an earlier study concluding that a certified gastroenterologist is more successful in finding precancerous polyps than other physicians. Now, a second study looks more deeply into the subject of high quality screenings and the difference your doctor can make to your overall life-expectancy.
The study, out of the Netherlands, was designed to determine the value, and cost-effectiveness, of high quality screenings. The conclusion was that any colonoscopy is better than no colonoscopy. But, colonoscopies performed by doctors with high detection rates were the most beneficial to the patient and did not represent and increase in cost.
The life time risk for colon cancer breaks down to the following:
- 34 of 1000 people who are not screened will develop colon cancer
- 27 of 1000 people who are screened by physicians less adept at detecting polyps
- 13 of 1000 people who are screened by physicians adept at detecting polyps
The study did not offer any other conclusions.
So, how can you choose a physician who can best detect polyps? You should verify that the doctor is a Board Certified Gastroenterologist. The specialty training that GI physicians receive isn’t the only reason why they are better at finding adenomas (precancerous polyps). In this case, the sheer volume of the procedures matters. Gastroenterologist preform screening colonoscopies and diagnostic colonoscopies on a routine basis. That experience makes them more likely to spot small polyps and more likely to remove those polyps completely.
That is why it is important to know that you have the right to choose your physician and the facility that you would prefer, as well. In the US, your insurance will cover 100% of your screening colonoscopy at the age of 50.
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