Harvard Health Letter

Does colonoscopy save lives?

The wisdom of colonoscopy screening seems obvious. The test enables a physician to examine the lining of the entire colon and to remove small, potentially precancerous growths called polyps during the exam. As a result, it has the potential not only to detect colon cancer early, but also to prevent new cases by removing polyps. It is generally assumed that colonoscopy saves lives because the procedure is good at detecting early disease. A report from the National Polyp Study in the Feb. 23, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine supports this assumption. 
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