By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study suggests that a colonoscopy catches cancers that a sigmoidoscopy misses — and saves more lives in the process. It makes sense: colonoscopy helps the doctor see the entire length of the colon.

But without studies directly comparing the two methods head-to-head, recommendations haven’t recommended one test over the other. A study followed 89,000 study participants over 20 years, tracking who developed colon cancer, and how they were screened. They found that the colonoscopy was better at finding cancer in the higher part of the colon, beyond the shorter scope’s reach.

Here is the most important point: colonoscopy screening every ten years could prevent 40% of colorectal cancers.

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