Fall 2014 – Comparing Current Screening Modalities for Colorectal Cancer and Precancerous Lesions: Is Colonoscopy the Method of Choice?

Comparing Current Screening Modalities for Colorectal Cancer and Precancerous Lesions: Is Colonoscopy the Method of Choice?

Author: Puneet K. Singh

Author Affiliations: Saba University School of Medicine, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

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Corresponding Author: Puneet K. Singh; pun33t.singh[at]gmail.com

Key Words: Colonoscopy; colorectal neoplasms; sigmoidoscopy; CT colonography; mass screening.

Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the Western world. Presently, screening tools such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and computed tomographic colonography (CTC) are available for CRC screening. The debate over which screening tool is most effective in detecting CRC and precancerous lesions is ongoing. Many recent studies have identified colonoscopy as the most sensitive and specific screening modality for CRC. However, a number of factors have prevented colonoscopy from being widely accepted. Less invasive techniques such as sigmoidoscopy and CTC are growing in popularity among physicians and patients who are apprehensive about colonoscopy screening; although many still are yet to experience the procedure first-hand. This literature review will attempt to validate the growing theory that colonoscopy is superior to other modalities for the diagnosis and screening of CRC and reduces the risk of CRC mortality. In order to do so, the paper will compare the risks and benefits of colonoscopy to sigmoidoscopy and CTC. It will further look at the different aspects that encompass a patient’s decision to partake in screening, such as basic knowledge about CRC, history of CRC in the family, advice from physicians and individual beliefs about what screening entails. Finally, this paper will propose ways in which colonoscopy screening can be improved and thus surpass other screening modalities to universally become the first choice for CRC screening.

Published on date: September 31, 2014

Senior Editor: Jack Mettler

Junior Editor: David Carr

DOI: Pending

Citation: Singh PK. Comparing Current Screening Modalities for Colorectal Cancer and Precancerous Lesions: Is Colonoscopy the Method of Choice? Medical Student Research Journal. 2014;4(Fall):34-47.

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Jessica Wummel

Executive Editor
Jessica Wummel is a third year medical student at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. She received her B.S. in Human Biology with a specialization in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society also from Michigan State University in 2011 from the Lyman Briggs College. She is interested in pursuing a career in Med/Peds and would eventually like to be involved in academic medicine later in her career.