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Paper co-authored by Dr. Strayer supports changes to colorectal cancer screening recommendations

A recent paper published by the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests recommendations for colorectal cancer screenings should be reassessed. Dr. Scott M. Strayer, clinical professor in the University of South Carolina School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, served as a co-author on the paper.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. Current screening recommendations suggest using stool-based testing, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or CT colonography in adults, beginning at age 50 and continuing until age 75.

A 2016 report found no colorectal cancer screening methods reduced all-cause mortality, but Strayer and his team say re-analysis of the data indicates that screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy, a procedure similar to a colonoscopy, does in fact reduce the risk of death in patients.

The paper, titled “Re-analysis of All-Cause Mortality in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force 2016 Evidence Report on Colorectal Cancer Screening,” suggests the findings presented in 2016 were confounded by aggregating results from two age cohorts in one of the clinical trials studied.

Strayer and his team say re-analysis of the data shows the use of flexible sigmoidoscopy significantly reduces the risk of death in patients at 11 to 12 years post procedure. The team asserts this information should be incorporated into the colorectal cancer screening guidelines.

The study was conducted by an interdisciplinary research team. In addition to Strayer, the team also included Dr. Jan Eberth and Michele Josey from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health and a Dr. Andrew Swartz, a clinical researcher from Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital in Bethel, Alaska.

The full study was published on Aug. 22, and can be read at

September 5th, 2017