This weekend, a study out of Oslo, Norway, published in the New England Journal of Medicine questioned the effectiveness of colonoscopy in preventing colorectal cancer, the second deadliest cancer in the United States. The study triggered a swell of media reports casting doubt on the procedure.
It also inspired a lot of tweeting and more than a few threads of analysis by experts, many of them taking issue with the simple conclusions made by news headlines or the study itself.
Numerous physicians and researchers, including Houston-based gastroenterologist Manreet Kaur, took issue with the study’s methodology, including:
- Dr. Hamed Khalili, an associate professor at Harvard University, wonders if the study emphasized the wrong aspect of prevention.
- Dr. Meghan May, a professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of New England, takes issue with some of the reporting on the study.
- Dr. Leo Nissola sets his sights on one report in particular.
- Anirban Maitra, pancreatic cancer researcher and GI pathologist, shared talk from around the water cooler.
- Jeremy Faust, an ER physician, was among the first to weigh in with a substantial piece, in which he encouraged readers to consider glimmers of hope before “flushing colonoscopies down the toilet.”
- Gastroenterologist and podcaster Dr. Kaveh Hoda produced a thread reinforcing Faust and adds that “populations in the countries of study are different than the US makeup.”
- Joining many others, Dr. John Damianos of Yale pointed to a critical editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, which identifies some of the important issues in the study.
- Dr. Leonidas Platanias, director of Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University, calls for increased education.
- With all the media attention on this study, the public has questions. Dr. Sophie Balzora of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine has answers.
- Dr. Erin King-Mullins, a colorectal surgeon in Atlanta, is looking ahead to National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Read the Alliance’s statement on this study here.
Initiative aims to reduce stigma and educate about screening choices, as the Colorectal Cancer Alliance launches a health equity fund to decrease disparities.
On the horizon are blood tests that have shown the ability to detect a variety of cancers including colorectal and rare cancers. Though these tests are still in development and are not yet approved by the FDA, clinical trials have shown impressive results.
In February of 2022, John and Mary experienced the unimaginable. Their 36-year-old son, Jonathan, died of stage IV colon cancer. Though Jonathan had been dealing with ulcerative colitis from the time he was twelve, no one would have predicted this outcome twenty-four years later.