New York: Middle-aged men are twice as likely as women to end up with a cancer diagnosis after colonoscopy, according to an Austrian study that challenges screening guidelines.Guidelines currently advise that people at average risk of colon cancer start screening for the disease at age 50, regardless of gender.But the new work, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows a discrepancy of nearly 10 years between men and women in the development of colon and rectal tumors.That means the same number of 55-year-old men would need to undergo colonoscopies -- in this case, around 80 -- to spot one cancer, as would be true for 65-year-old women. The same logic held true for the pre-cancerous growths called advanced adenomas, which doctors also scout for during colonoscopies.However, a U.S. expert warned about making decisions regarding when to start screening based on the new findings."I would discourage women from looking at this study and saying, `Gee, I can wait longer,`" said Dr. Michael LeFevre of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a federally supported expert panel. "And I would discourage men from saying, `Gee, I should start sooner.`"The USPSTF recommends colon cancer screening between the ages of 50 and 75 using one of a number of types of tests. The advantage of colonoscopy, which costs around $3,000, is that it only has to be repeated once every ten years, as opposed to every year for the much cheaper stool test.
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