Letters

United States has recommended screening for colon cancer

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7094.1624a (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1624

Why has barium enema been suggested?

  1. A H Chapman, Consultanta,
  2. A Blakeborough, Senior registrara
  1. a Department of Radiology, St James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF
  2. b American Gastroenterological Association, Bethesda, MD 20814-3015, USA

    Editor—Some readers may have been surprised by the American Gastroenterological Association's decision to include the barium enema in its guidelines for screening for colon cancer,1 especially because in a review in the BMJ two weeks earlier the barium enema hardly rated a mention.2

    Why should such a recommendation have been made? Screening has to be affordable, and a barium enema examination costs roughly a third of the cost of a colonoscopy. Safety also has to be considered; the mortality associated with a barium enema is roughly a fifth to a tenth that of that associated …

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