HealthDay News — Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening is associated with reduced colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality in men, but not women, according to a study published online April 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Øyvind Holme, MD, PhD, from Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand in Norway, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving adults aged 50 to 64 years at baseline without prior CRC. Participants underwent flexible sigmoidoscopy screening between 1999 and 2001 with and without additional fecal blood testing (20,552 patients) versus no screening (78,126 patients). 

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The adherence rates were 64.7 and 61.4% in women and men, respectively. Participants were followed for a median of 14.8 years. The researchers found that the absolute risks for CRC were 1.86 and 2.05% in the screening and control groups, respectively, among women (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.79 to 1.07). The corresponding risks were 1.72 and 2.50% in men (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.57 to 0.78). In women, the absolute risks for death from CRC were 0.60 and 0.59% in the screening and control groups, respectively (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 1.33). For men, the corresponding risks were 0.49 and 0.81% (hazard ratio, 0.63; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.47 to 0.83).

“Offering sigmoidoscopy screening in Norway reduced CRC incidence and mortality in men but had little or no effect in women,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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