What is the benefit of flexible sigmoidoscopy compared to stool-based tests in the screening for colon cancer?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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A Cochrane Database review of 14 trials found that flexible sigmoidoscopy is more effective at detecting advanced adenoma and carcinoma than stool-based tests. [51]  However, a Norwegian study determined that while the use of flexible sigmoidoscopy for screening reduced the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer in men, it had little or no effect in women. [52]

A study by Wilschut et al found that FIT should be used at higher hemoglobin cutoff levels when colonoscopy capacity is limited. The findings suggest that FIT is more effective in terms of outcome and cost than fecal occult blood testing at all colonoscopy capacity levels. [53]

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