Colonoscopy: Does the Doctor Make a Difference?

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A report published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated the colonoscopy skills of gastroenterologists. Findings indicated that patients seen by doctors who removed more premalignant polyps, or adenomas, were less likely to develop colon cancer. In this article, the question is whether the doctors' skills play a role, as adenoma "pick-up" rates vary widely among gastroenterologists. Results from this study, for instance, showed that detection rates ranged from 7.5% to 52.5%. Further, the researchers found that, among doctors in the highest quintile of detection, the colon cancer rate was approximately half that of those doctors in the lowest quintile of detection. The researchers cited a number of possible reasons for the variation in detection, including the patient population that the individual doctor serves, patient preparation for the colonoscopy, insurance, and, undoubtedly, skill and experience. 

Colonoscopy: Does the Doctor Make a Difference?
Colonoscopy: Does the Doctor Make a Difference?
This spring, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a revealing report about colonoscopy skills of gastroenterologists. Among patients whose doctors removed a greater number of premalignant polyps (adenomas), the likelihood of developing colon cancer was significantly reduced. 

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