7 January 2016

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

This is the test of choice for screening for colon-rectum cancer, the most common GI tract tumor in Italy (51,900 cases in 2015, source: I numeri del cancro in Italia nel 2015, AIOM-AIRTUM, 2015) and Europe (471,000 cases in 2012, source: International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, 2012). The incidence is higher in men compared to women and in addition to family history and the presence of inflammatory bowel diseases, the main risk factors include diabetes, a diet low in fiber and high in saturated fats, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, exposure to radiation, smoking, and alcohol abuse. The prognosis is relatively good compared to other gastrointestinal cancers. Colon-rectum cancer is the only kind of tumor for which a screening and periodical surveillance program for men has proved effective to reduce the mortality rate. For this reason, in prevention programs, all official health organizations recommend a colonoscopy for those over the age of 50.