Slower is better for colon screenings
Here's one from the department of the obvious: Docs who take their time during colon screenings are more likely to do the job right.
Colonoscopy isn't a blood test or a lab culture. It's a procedure that relies heavily on the sharp eyes of the doctor -- so OF COURSE it'll be more accurate when the doctor takes his time.
Yet some docs race through the procedure as if they're double-parked. They blow through the colon (there's an image for you) in the minimum recommended withdrawal time of 6 minutes.
And some move even faster.
"Withdrawal time" is the time it takes to pull the scope out. That's the part of the procedure when the doctor actually looks for the polyps -- and new research shows that 6 minutes just isn't enough.
For every minute past the 6-minute mark, the detection rate for adenomas jumps by 50 percent and the detection rate for clinically significant serrated polyps climbs by 77 percent.
It finally levels off at the 9-minute mark, according to the study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Clearly, slow and steady wins the race to save your life from colon cancer -- and that brings us to the $64,000 question: How do you know how much time your doctor will spend hunting for polyps?
You'll be under anesthesia, so you won't exactly be able to keep track with a timer. So you have to ask -- in advance -- what his average is.
Most docs (the good ones, anyway) can tell you exactly how much time they typically spend in there. And as long as you're asking questions, ask him his batting average -- or how often he detects polyps.
If he's detecting them less than the national averages of 15 percent of the time for women and 25 percent for men, he may be striking out too much -- and you should shop around for another doc.
Whatever you do, don't put it off. Colonoscopy is one of the only cancer screenings that gets my backing, and for good reason: It can save lives without ruining them.
I'm not done with cancer yet. Keep reading for the side effect of prostate cancer treatment your doctor won't warn you about.