HOUSTON (KIAH) – A large European study looking at the effectiveness of colonoscopies is getting mixed reviews from some doctors.

Researchers found over a 10-year period the risk of colon cancer among those who were screened was lower compared to those who went without a screening, but their results were lower than a landmark study back in 2018. What’s more, study authors said a colonoscopy didn’t significantly reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer. 

This is concerning to Texas doctors who say this study could cause doubt on the test that is recommended for those ages 45 and up.

“They added other things into that that made it confusing, but the message for this is colon cancer screening does work — colonoscopy, stool studies. If you colon cancer early, it’s curable. Late stage colon cancer is deadly.”

Dr. David Winter of Baylor Scott & White Health

Looking closer and taking the time to compare the data, Dr. Winter pointed to a landmark study for colon cancer screening that was conducted in 2018. He explained that study showed that if you get screened for colon cancer at the appropriate time, a person can lower the death rate from colon cancer by 67%. 

“Take this study that just came out of Europe. If you look at just the folks that colonoscopy, the numbers are pretty similar,” Dr. Winter said.

Another point doctors want to spotlight is the participants in the European study were “invited” to undergo a colonoscopy, but more than half of the research participants never showed up for the procedure.

You can read the full study in the The New England Journal of Medicine.