AGA Washington Insider

A policy blog for GIs

AGA President Responds to New York Times Editorial

The Aug. 16, 2010, issue of The New York Times included an editorial on colon cancer screening, “Colon Cancer Prevention,” looking at cancer reduction after flexible sigmoidoscopy in a low-risk population. In response to the editorial, Ian Taylor, MD, PhD, AGAF, president of the AGA Institute, clarified the points raised about sigmoidoscopy versus colonscopy.

Dr. Taylor points out the dramatic improvement in colorectal cancer death rates and states that, while the cause is multi-factorial, effective screening and early detection has undoubtedly played a major role. AGA believes that screening colonoscopy has been and continues to be the gold standard for screening because it is the only test that can reach the entire colon and remove cancer and precancerous polyps. He also raises provocative questions about whether the beneficial results of screening colonoscopy can still be improved by a concerted focus on quality measures.

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