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Longer Colonoscopy Withdrawal Time May Cut Cancer Risk

Viewing time of less than six minutes linked to higher cancer rates

THURSDAY, Aug. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Longer colonoscopy withdrawal time is associated with lower risk for colorectal cancer over five years, according to a study published online recently in Gastroenterology.

Researchers reviewed 76,810 screening colonoscopies performed over six years by 51 gastroenterologists at a large practice in Minnesota. On average, colonoscopy withdrawal times lasted nearly nine minutes, but about 10 percent of the doctors had individual averages of less than six minutes, the investigators found.

Patients whose screenings were performed by doctors whose average colonoscopy withdrawal time lasted less than six minutes were twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer within five years as those whose doctors' colonoscopy withdrawal time averaged more than six minutes, the researchers found. Colonoscopy withdrawal times that went beyond eight minutes did not seem to provide an extra reduction in cancer risk.

"Our results support the use of withdrawal time as a quality indicator, as recommended by current guidelines," lead author Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, said in a VA news release.

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