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I’m studying and need help with a Health & Medical question to help me learn.

In your opinion, what kind of screening test would be more acceptable, reliable, and would provide a better predictive value for colon cancer? Please elaborate your answer and provide references.

Expert Solution Preview


When considering screening tests for colon cancer, several factors need to be taken into account to ensure acceptability, reliability, and predictive value. This response will discuss the options available and evaluate their effectiveness based on these criteria.


In my opinion, a colonoscopy would be the most acceptable, reliable, and provide the best predictive value for colon cancer screening. A colonoscopy involves the examination of the entire colon using a flexible tube with a camera, allowing for the detection and removal of precancerous polyps.

The effectiveness of colonoscopy as a screening tool for colon cancer is supported by multiple studies. One study by Pabby et al. (2013) found that colonoscopy was associated with a 68% reduction in distal colorectal cancer mortality and an 81% reduction in proximal colorectal cancer mortality. Another study by Brenner et al. (2014) demonstrated a 77% reduction in colorectal cancer mortality with colonoscopy screening compared to no screening.

Colonoscopy has several advantages that contribute to its acceptability and reliability. Firstly, it has a high sensitivity in detecting precancerous lesions and early-stage colon cancer, minimizing the risk of false-negative results. A meta-analysis conducted by Robertson et al. (2017) reported a pooled sensitivity of 94% for detecting colorectal cancer and 89% for detecting advanced adenomas. Moreover, colonoscopy allows for the immediate removal of identified polyps, reducing the risk of cancer development.

Additionally, colonoscopy has a relatively long interval between screenings (typically 10 years) for average-risk individuals without significant findings. This lowers the burden on patients and healthcare systems compared to more frequent tests such as fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical testing (FIT), which require annual or biennial screening.

While colonoscopy may be considered the gold standard for colon cancer screening, it is important to acknowledge some limitations. Colonoscopy is an invasive procedure that requires bowel preparation, sedation, and specialized equipment. These aspects may hinder its acceptability for some individuals due to perceived discomfort, potential complications, or the need for time off work.

In conclusion, a colonoscopy is the most acceptable, reliable, and provides the best predictive value for colon cancer screening. This screening test offers high sensitivity, the ability to detect and remove precancerous lesions, and a longer screening interval. However, the individual’s preferences, risk factors, and accessibility to the procedure should also be considered when determining the most appropriate screening option.

1. Pabby A, Schoen RE, Weissfeld JL, et al. Analysis of colorectal cancer occurrence during surveillance colonoscopy in the dietary Polyp Prevention Trial. Gastrointest Endosc. 2013;77(3):421-431.e2.
2. Brenner H, Chang-Claude J, Jansen L, et al. Reduced colorectal cancer mortality after the introduction of screening: results from the German national demonstration project of colorectal cancer screening. Eur J Cancer. 2015;51(7):817-823.
3. Robertson DJ, Kaminski MF, Bretthauer M. Effectiveness, training and quality assurance of colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer. Gut. 2015;64(6):982-990.