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ACG: U.S. Colon Cancer Rates Have Fallen Since 1988

Decline coincides with increased use of screening

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Colon cancer rates fell between 1988 and 2002 in the United States, coinciding with an increase in the use of screening methods such as colonoscopy, according to a study presented at the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas.

Mazen M. Jamal, M.D., from the University of California-Irvine, and colleagues used data from two databases -- the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) -- to examine the age-adjusted rate of colon cancer between 1988 and 2002.

Using data from the NIS database, the researchers found that colon cancer rates fell from 42 to 38 per 100,000. Similar results were observed using the SEER database, with rates falling from 61 to 52 per 100,000.

In a statement, Jamal explained that increased screening and polyp removal, which may help prevent progression of polyps to cancers, are probably responsible for this trend. The decline in colon cancers coincides with increased use of the fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy during this period.

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