Dr. James Goodwin, who has recently been promoted to vice president and chief research officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, visited with Guidry News Service about a new study by UTMB researchers that shows that one out of four colonoscopies paid for by Medicare is potentially inappropriate under current screening guidelines set forth by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Listen (14:01)
“The most important message is that screening colonoscopies, getting a colonoscopy routinely every 10 years or so, has had a profound effect on your risk of getting colon cancers. So overall, colonoscopies have been one of the great success stories for cancer screening, ” Dr. Goodwin said, noting the reduction in colon cancers and deaths from colon cancer due to screening.
However, Dr. Goodwin said the study supported by the Sealy Center on Aging found that the tests are being overused.
“Tests which are good, but when used in the wrong populations or used for the wrong indications can actually cause more harm than good,” he said, noting that a colonoscopy is a fairly invasive test.
"For anyone who has ever had it, I don’t have to convince anyone of that," he said, adding that the test can sometimes have serious complications and should only be done when necessary. "Plus it’s uncomfortable, obviously.”
Dr. Goodwin said the study based on national Medicare data showed that many people were having the procedure too frequently.
The study has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine. For the official UTMB News Release