Colonoscopies Often Miss Dangerous Lesions: Study

Flat irregularities more dangerous than polyps
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 12:57 PM CST
A photo taken during a traditional colonoscopy is seen in this handout photo released by the University of Wisconsin Medical School. (AP Photo/ Courtesy of Dr. Perry J. Pickhardt/ University of Wisconsin...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Doctors searching for polyps during a colonoscopy need to focus more on flat or depressed lesions, the New York Times reports, which are more likely to grow into cancer—and more common in the US than previously thought, a study finds. Polyps, which protrude from intestinal lining, are easier to find; US doctors need more practice finding the lesions, one says.

While Japanese researchers started fretting about lesions in the 1980s and '90s, Americans assumed they were less common and less dangerous here. But the US-based study found flat lesions on 9.35% of its participants. And while some US doctors are wise to the risk, others “expect everything in there to be shaped like a golf ball,” said one gastroenterologist.