SIDE EFFECTS OF SCREENING COLONOSCOPIES
by Konstantin Monastyrsky
According to 'The Annals Of Internal Medicine,' the rate of serious complications from colonoscopy screening is “10 times higher than for any other commonly used cancer-screening test.” This number doesn't include deferred complications, such as internal bleeding, severe anemia, heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, kidney failure, intestinal obstruction, and others.
These complications explain why,
according to the Telemark Polyp Study I, colonoscopy screening
increases relative mortality by 57%. Thus, if you are
to undergo screening, your odds
of being killed or injured by the side effects of colonoscopy may
actually exceed your odds of getting colorectal cancer in the first place .
Adding insult to injury, all
that prep, fear, risk, expense, embarrassment, and stress are for
naught anyway — screening colonoscopy offers near zero protection
from colon cancer, as I explain in my Death By Colonoscopy report.
What gives? Well, a conventional colonoscopy isn't
simply a routine doctor's visit, but an
ambulatory surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia.
According to the same Annals of Internal Medicine, serious complications
occur in 0.5% of all cases [link].
Unreported medical errors and deferred side effects, such as severe
anemia caused by blood loss, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke related to
blood clots caused by general anesthesia, pneumonia, persistent
post-operative infection, or kidney failure and acute diverticulitis caused
by colon prep, may easily add up to another percent or two.
If, for argument sake, the combined
number of complications, side effects, and medical errors tally up to
just 1%, it means that 140,000 people are injured annually by 14 million
estimated screenings alone. This rate of “collateral damage” is just as
high as the incidence of colorectal cancer itself, and, perhaps, is just
as deadly, especially for seniors — a primary target group for
Even if you take at face value the claim that screening
colonoscopies have reduced colorectal cancer mortality by 5% or about
2,500 lives annually, it means
56 people have been needlessly harmed to save just one life
(140,000 / 2,500).
Then, consider the 1 in 5 chance of
getting any other cancer following a single virtual colonoscopy.
Radiation exposure from just one abdominal CT scan (at 5 to 10 mSv) is
two to three thousands times more potent than a single dental x-ray, and
2 to 3 times higher than the estimated exposure to a “dirty”
nuclear bomb estimated at just 3 mSv [link].
As scary as the “dirty bombs” are,
an explosion in the center of Fairfax County, VA, a populous suburb of
Washington, DC, would affect only 19,500 people [link].
That is 50 to 100 times less people than are being nuked
annually in the radiology centers across the nation while administering
unneeded and cancer-causing abdominal CT scans.
Since preventive colonoscopies became an outright fad after Ms. Couric‘s televised colonoscopy in March of
2000 , close to 30,000 more people annually have
been affected by colon cancer.
Without a doubt, unnecessary screening colonoscopies —
conventional and virtual alike, and almost all related to the Katie Couric Effect, — contribute to
these new cancers by causing the following common side effects:
Intestinal flora disruption. Each
successive colonoscopy damages natural intestinal microflora, because
this procedure requires a thorough lavage — a washing out of the large
intestine with large doses of synthetic laxatives, followed by bowel
irrigation with polyethylene glycol and hypertonic electrolytes.
Polyethylene glycol is a habit-forming osmotic laxative
found in MiraLax, Colyte, and GoLYTELY. Hypertonic electrolyte is a
solution of sodium biphosphate and sodium phosphate found in Fleet
Enemas. Both substances kill bacteria on contact just as reliably as
a salt gargle kills bacteria in your mouth.
The damage of intestinal bacteria — a condition called
disbacteriosis (dysbiosis) — is a key factor behind irregularity,
constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases,
such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease,
known, in turn, to raise the risk of colon cancer up to 32 times.
That‘s 3,200%, if you prefer it that
All of the above conditions cause fiber dependence to relieve them.
Also, disbacteriosis contributes to colon cancer, because these
protect intestinal mucosa from numerous types of cancer-causing
pathogens. (More on this here.)
Disruption of stools. If you are
already affected by hemorrhoids, chronic constipation, irritable
bowel syndrome, or diverticulosis, then bowel prep, intubation, and
lavage may flare up and worsen these conditions considerably by
disrupting an established defecation pattern — a situation very
similar to the outcome of severe diarrhea.
Post-interventional complications. Serious complications, such as colon
perforation, occur in 5 out of every one thousand colonoscopies .
The risks of delayed bleeding, infection, and ulceration are even
higher, but they rarely get reported in connection with colonoscopy.
“Colonoscopy with biopsy or polypectomy [polyp removal —KM] is associated with increased risk for complications. Perforation may also
occur during colonoscopies without biopsies.” Ann Intern Med. 2006 Dec 19;145(12):880-6;
Increased risk of deferred strokes, heart
attacks, and pulmonary embolisms. You must also consider the risk of blood clotting,
which is a common side effect of anesthesia, particularly among
patients with diabetes or heart disease. These blood clots may cause
a deadly pulmonary embolism, stroke or heart attack weeks after the
Infections. There is an omnipresent risk of an infectious
disease, such as pneumonia or pyelonephritis, associated with any
medical procedure performed under anesthesia.
Missed tumors create a false sense of security. According to multiple studies, even thorough
doctors miss from 15 to 27 percent of polyps, including 6 percent of
large tumors. According to the research published in The
New England Journal of Medicine [link], some doctors rush through colon
exam so fast, that they may miss even cancer in full bloom. One such doctor can process 20 to 30 patients a day 
with assembly line efficiency. Some are known to perform as many as
60 colonoscopies in a single day because the average payment ranges
from $1,500 to $2,000 per patient regardless of time spent.
Triple jeopardy. (1) According to the American College of
Gastroenterology, virtual colonoscopies miss 27 percent of colorectal lesions,
including pre-cancerous colon polyps and actual cancerous tumors. (2) To add insult to injury, even if the radiologist finds a polyp or two, you‘ll need to
undergo a regular colonoscopy anyway to remove them. The incidents of
false positive readings are also common, according to the same FDA
document. (3) As I already pointed out earlier to the FDA's analysis,
the additional cancer risk associated with just one CT scan to
detect colon cancer is 1 chance out of 5, or 20% .
These odd are 4 to 8 times higher than your “natural” risk of
colorectal cancer at 2.5% to 5%.
Common side effects of colonoscopy
The side effects of colonoscopy are similar to problems
associated with any surgical procedure and are caused by the confluence
of like factors: bowel prep, mechanical and surgical traumas by
instruments, anesthesia, hypothermia, stress, opportunistic infections,
fluctuations of blood sugar, excessive fluid consumption, sudden diet
modification, and so on. Each stage introduces its own set of
Before the procedure: Osmotic
laxatives and lavages cause inevitable dehydration and an imbalance
of electrolytes — a particularly serious issue for people with heart
and kidney disease.
During the procedure: mechanical
impact of intubation on the anus, rectum, and mucous membrane,
possible abrasions by the endoscope; tissue injuries from
polypectomy (polyp removal) and biopsies; hypothermia (low body
temperature) related to anesthesia — the common cause of bacterial
infections (similar to catching colds, flu, pneumonia, or
pyelonephritis (kidney infection) after an extended exposure to
Immediately after: A slowing or
shutdown of gastric and intestinal peristalsis from anesthesia may
cause severe dyspepsia, food poisoning, intoxication from the
rotting of undigested protein, gastritis, duodenitis, pancreatitis,
cholecystitis, enteritis, and obstruction anywhere along the entire
digestive tract. These conditions are often exacerbated by a quick
resumption of the usual diet (i.e. solid food).
A few days following colonoscopy, side effects are
commonly exacerbated by following routine advice to increase fiber
intake. These complications may differ in nature depending on the degree
Patients with severe disbacteriosis may not
experience much if any bacterial fermentation of fiber and associated
gases and bloating but may be affected by large stools, straining,
constipation, hemorrhoids and obstruction. Those who retained some
bacteria following the test may experience fermentation-related
bloating, cramps and flatulence.
Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) is commonly
associated with any invasive procedure in general and cancer screening
in particular. It is especially bothersome among persons in a high-risk
group or susceptible to anxieties and depression. PTSS commonly
interferes with digestion because an elevated level of stress hormones
and muscular tensions inhibit the secretion of digestive fluids and
Here is a specific list of the most likely side effects
you may experience after the colonoscopy in (more or less) chronological
Osmotic laxatives used for
bowel prep cause a significant loss of body fluids. A rehydration isn‘t
simply a matter of drinking more water — it takes time because the body
can only absorb a limited amount of water at any given time. Resuming
solid food soon after a colonoscopy may intensify dehydration because
solid food, particularly protein, requires several liters of saliva and
YOUR ACTION: Hydrate yourself
properly before the procedure. The best form of hydration is
freshly-squeezed cucumber juice (with skin on) — a sugar-free source of
potassium, about 600 mg per cup; mineral water with a high-mineral
content; and several salty snacks because sodium chloride is essential
to retain water. Start rehydration several days in advance — it isn't a
matter of just drinking several glasses of water before the procedure.
Intoxication and food poisoning
These two related conditions
may result from a rapid resumption of solid food particularly containing
protein. The preceding liquid diet and residual effect of anesthesia
cause the reduction of gastric digestion (i.e. an inadequate level of
hydrochloric acid and proteolytic enzymes). Inadequate acidity may fail
to properly sterilize incoming food from bacterial and viral pathogens.
The unchecked presence of
pathogens may cause a condition commonly referred to as “stomach flu”: —
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other symptoms typical
to infectious disorders of the GI tract. The enzymatic deficiency
(combined with low acidity) results in putrefaction (rotting) of
undigested proteins inside the stomach and intestines. This process
produces cadaverine — a foul-smelling substance produced by protein
hydrolysis. A gradual absorption of this substance into the blood may
cause symptoms similar to food poisoning.
YOUR ACTION: Resume solid food
gradually. Refrain from proteins for at least 3 days after the
colonoscopy. Chew well and thoroughly to improve digestion. Do not drink
fluids after meals, only 30 to 60 minutes before, so fluids have a
chance to get down into the small intestine where they assimilate. Do
not mix proteins with carbohydrates and fiber to ease the digestive
load. Do not overeat. Do not consume more than one protein-containing
meal a day. Use proteolytic enzyme supplements to assist in the
digestion of protein. Make sure to consume the recommended 4-6 grams of
salt daily to facilitate the proper synthesis of hydrochloric acid (salt
is a source of chloride (Cl). Do not take acid reducers because they
inhibit the digestion of protein and release of proteolytic enzymes. Do
not take dietary fiber because it extends digestion and causes
obstructions. Use the Colorectal Support Kit instead to normalize
defecation without fiber.
Esophageal, gastric, duodenal, and intestinal
Foods are propelled through
the digestive tract via peristalsis — a coordinated action of smooth
muscles that make up the circumference of the esophagus, stomach, and
intestines. Anesthetics, even mild ones, switch off peristalsis for a
good chunk of the time particularly in combination with common drugs for
hypertension, heart disease, anxiety, depression, convulsions, pain
relief (opiates), and some others.
If you follow your doctor‘s advice, and take fiber-rich
food or fiber laxatives soon after the colonoscopy, there is a good
chance of clogging up the GI tract with this rapidly expanding fiber. The
obstruction may cause a broad number of digestive complications and
problems and may require emergency surgery. Nausea and vomiting,
particularly with bile, is one of the most prominent symptoms of
YOUR ACTION: Avoid fiber supplements and food rich
in fiber. Use Colorectal Recovery Kit instead to normalize defecation
This is a serious concern for
people taking blood thinners and/or aspirin. The removal of polyps
leaves a wound. It may not properly heal for several reasons: vitamin K
deficiency related to prior disbacteriosis and low-fat diets, ongoing
therapy with blood thinners and/or aspirin, collagen synthesis defects
related to a low level of vitamin C and protein deficiency, an infection
from pathogenic bacteria, elevated acidity and/or a high-level of
alcohols from fermenting fiber, mechanical impaction from expanded
fiber, irritation and inflammation caused by laxatives and, finally,
colon stretching from gases and/or straining.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit before and
after colonoscopy to facilitate healing, reduce inflammation, restore
intestinal flora and enable normal and timely defecation.
An outcome of disbacteriosis and inflammatory
conditions inside the colon, both caused by bowel prep and dietary
fiber, particularly soluble fiber found in psyllium laxatives
(Metamucil). The lack of intestinal bacteria compromises stool
formation. Inflammation blocks fluids from absorption and causes an
additional oozing of mucus into the lumen (colon cavity). Both
conditions result in diarrhea (liquid stools). Excessive use of soluble
fiber in food and laxatives blocks the absorption of digestive fluids
and further exacerbates diarrhea.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit immediately
following a colonoscopy to restore intestinal flora and eliminate
inflammatory bowel disease. Avoid fiber laxatives and food that is rich
in fiber. Exclude bananas, prunes and prune and beet juice. These common
remedies for constipation contain sorbitol — a sugar alcohol and
potent laxative. Sorbitol is a primary substance behind diabetic nerve
and blood vessel damage, the factors behind diabetic neuropathies (nerve
damage), retinopathy (blindness), erectile dysfunction, kidney failure,
heart disease and amputation of lower limbs. (87,000 a year in the
United States alone).
Small, hard stools
This condition is common after colonoscopy,
particularly among patients who refuse to take fiber and results from
disbacteriosis caused by bowel prep. Live and dead intestinal bacteria
retain fluid (moisture) in formed feces. Even a 10% to 15% reduction of
fluids (75% to 80% is a norm) in stools causes small, hard, lumpy
This is, incidentally, why insoluble fiber is recommended in the
first place: cellulose (an indigestible component of fiber) expands with
water and bulks up stools. Alas, cellulose isn‘t as efficient at holding
water as bacteria because it dries out faster and results in anal
abrasions. It gets fermented by the remaining bacteria which results in
gases and bloating and requires a good dosing of insoluble fiber to keep
the moisture locked inside - this results in diarrhea and more fermentation.
On top of this, enlarged (bulked up) stools require straining which causes
hemorrhoids, abrasions, fissures, prolapses and nerve damage.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit instead of
fiber immediately following colonoscopy to restore normal stool
Flatulence, bloating, abdominal cramps.
Intestinal bacteria reside in the mucous membrane
and inside the appendix. Many bacteria will die after the bowel prep but
some may survive, particularly inside the appendix. When, following a
doctor‘s advice, fiber is added to the diet, these bacteria spring into
action and ferment the fiber — a process no different from beer, dough, or
wine making. Gases, produced by fermentation, cause flatulence, bloating
Women are particularly sensitive to gas-related bloating
because the genitourinary organs reside in the same tightly packed
abdominal cavity. The uterus and fallopian tubes are particularly
sensitive to pressure before and during periods, hence the typical
after-effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The alcohols and acidity
related to fermentation may cause mucosal inflammation which further
inhibits the absorption of gases, and increases bloating, flatulence and
YOUR ACTION: Do not use fiber and fiber laxatives
following colonoscopy. Your doctor‘s advice to use fiber is wrong
because it is based on outdated and falsified information. Use Colorectal Recovery Kit instead to restore proper stool morphology
without fiber and laxatives.
Internal and external hemorrhoids are caused by
large stools (from fiber) and the ensuing straining to expel them, or by
intense, often involuntary contractions of anal and pelvic muscles in
response to diarrhea, caused by disbacteriosis and soluble fiber.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit instead of
fiber immediately following colonoscopy to restore normal stool
morphology (i.e. reduce stool size, maintain moisture, eliminate
Same reasons as above. The mechanical pressure of
large stools on the narrow, anal canal passage-way causes skin tears.
Daily effort to move the bowels and straining doesn‘t allow the wounds
to heal and the tear becomes larger and larger. Medication, infection
(by passing stools) and malnutrition further interfere with healing.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit to
facilitate the healing process and maintain soft, semi-liquid stools
until complete healing. Thereafter, to maintain proper stool morphology
so you don‘t have to strain.
All of the above reasons. As fiber makes
stools larger and larger, the anal- canal gets smaller and smaller from
internal hemorrhoids. The ensuing pain and discomfort from large stools
passing through the narrow anal-canal lead to incomplete emptying and
stools remaining in the large intestine get larger, denser, and drier. A
vicious cycle of dependence on laxatives to move the bowels ensues.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit to restore
and maintain proper stool morphology.
Irritable bowel syndrome
An alternating pattern of constipation and diarrhea
along with abdominal pain, cramps, and discomfort caused by bloating and
flatulence. It doesn‘t take a genius to recognize the cause — they are
all enumerated above. If you already have a history of irritable bowel
syndrome, a colonoscopy and more fiber will only make this situation
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit and follow
my recommendation in Fiber Menace. I‘ve been IBS-free since I started
doing the same and so are thousands of my readers. This is the
safest and least expensive approach to become and stay IBS-free for the
rest of your life.
You aren‘t likely to hear
about it from the mainstream medical sector any time soon because it
will deprive countless endoscopists, gastroenterologists, hospitals,
clinical labs, radiology centers, and drug companies from one of their
top money makers, according to the National Institutes of Health:
“As many as 20 percent of the
adult population, or one in five Americans, have symptoms of IBS, making
it one of the most common disorders diagnosed by doctors. It occurs more
often in women than in men and it begins before the age of 35 in about
50 percent of people.” 
Excessive accumulation of unfermented fiber inside
the colon on one hand and an incomplete emptying of stools on the other,
may eventually cause fecal impaction and colon obstruction. It‘s usually
manifested by paradoxical diarrhea — a condition when fluids incoming
from the small intestine flow around impacted stool and create a
diarrhea-like condition. If you aren‘t overweight (fat interferes with
manual examination), an obstruction is easily determined during physical
examination. Otherwise, an x-ray with contrast solution may be required.
Insist on an abdominal x-ray instead of a CT-scan to reduce your
YOUR ACTION: DO NOT use Colorectal Recovery Kit or
any other medication/laxatives, particularly fiber, to manage this
condition. This is a real medical emergency which requires an immediate
visit to an emergency room for examination and if necessary, manual
disimpaction (a procedure performed by a surgeon or a specially-trained
nurse). After proper diagnosis and disimpaction, use Colorectal Recovery
Kit to prevent any repeat occurrence.
Diverticulitis (the aggravation of diverticulosis)
Up to a quarter of people before 50 may already have
one or more diverticula. This number grows to 50% after age 60. These
diverticula result from large stools and straining caused by all of the
factors listed above and namely, large stools and straining related to
excess use of dietary fiber.
Since most colonoscopies start after 50,
the recommendation to hit on fiber immediately thereafter is
particularly damaging to people already affected by diverticulosis. When
large stools and fiber get trapped inside diverticula, they are likely
to cause an inflammation of unprotected mucosa which may result in bleeding
and severe pain related to ulceration, necrosis, or perforation.
YOUR ACTION: Do not use fiber and fiber laxatives
following colonoscopy. The advice to use fiber is wrong and it is based
on outdated and falsified information. Use Colorectal Recovery Kit instead to restore proper stool morphology without fiber.
The predisposition to ulcerative colitis — an
inflammation and ulceration of the colon mucosa following colonoscopy is
quite high because all the preconditions are there: mucosal
inflammation, lack of protective bacteria, inadequate coagulation, poor
healing, diarrhea, and excess use of fiber.
YOUR ACTION: It is easier to prevent than treat
Use Colorectal Recovery Kit to prevent its occurrence or relapse,
particularly if you have a history of diarrhea and/or ulcerative
Crohn‘s disease is a condition similar to ulcerative
colitis except its localization may happen anywhere along the
gastrointestinal tract and it has a strong auto-immune component. The
reasons behind it and preventive actions are similar to ulcerative
Formation of pre-cancerous polyps and cancers
I believe the genetic and ethnic aspects of colon cancer
highly exaggerated. Polyps and cancers — abnormal cellular growths —
don‘t just pop-up out of the blue. It literally “takes a village” to grow
one. Just like oral cavities respond to chewing tobacco hours on end
with oral cancer, so does the colon respond with polyps and cancers to
long-term assault of the large intestine with fiber, fermentation, large
stools, straining, antibiotics and pollutants.
YOUR ACTION: Use Colorectal Recovery Kit to wean
yourself from fiber dependence, to restore intestinal flora, to maintain
small stools and to prevent straining. Give your colon health the same
attention you are giving to cutting your hair and brushing your teeth. I‘ve yet to
hear about “teeth cancer” or “hair cancer,” but people are dying from
colorectal cancer left and right.
I realize the following two
questions may be bugging you: (1) why aren‘t the complications described in this guide discussed
with patients in advance of the screening? (2) Is it because doctors don‘t
I believe there are three factors behind this particular health
First, you aren‘t likely to encounter your endoscopist ever again.
If the colonoscopy results are abnormal, you‘ll be immediately referred
to the GI surgeon or oncologist. So, yes, in essence, they may not know
or want to know what‘s happening afterwards.
Second, many people undergoing colonoscopy may already have some or
all of the symptoms and conditions that follow a colonoscopy, such as
antibiotic-induced disbacteriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating,
flatulence, fiber dependency, hemorrhoids, straining and so on. So they
just return to their “normal” state without connecting one and two.
Finally, colonoscopies are an extremely profitable business. A
mid-volume endoscopy practice with just a single physician may gross
between $4 and $6 million annually. Why ruin a good business by focusing
on a few
side effects with patients you‘ll never see again, especially when
everyone and their uncle believes that a colonoscopy saves lives?
Regardless of these reasons — some sinister, some stupid, some
inadvertent to this situation — you now have the knowledge of what‘s
causing them, how to avoid them and what to do about it.
What to do when you can't just say “no...”
In certain cases, colonoscopies are unavoidable, and,
perhaps, life-saving. To protect yourself from unnecessary side effects,
keep the following points in mind::
Avoid abdominal computer tomography at any
cost because it increases your risk of developing any cancer from
radiation equal to the exposure on the outskirts of Hiroshima on
August 6th of 1945.
When push comes to shove, choose lesser evil.
Perform a conventional colonoscopy only if you have a good reason
for getting screened for colon cancer.
Avoid haphazard, fast-track screenings.
The difference in polyp detection from a good doctor to a bad one is
up to ten times, while the cost is exactly the same [link]. So seek out
a reputable specialist, who takes time to do it right. Otherwise, what‘s
Weigh up your odds against the risks. If you
aren‘t in a high risk group, and do nothing, there is a 95% to 97.5%
(perhaps, even less)
chance that you‘ll never experience colon cancer, and a 100% chance
that you will not face colonoscopy-related side effects described on
Restore colon ecology properly after
a colonoscopy. This is a particularly important point, otherwise
you increase your risk of developing colon cancer even more,
regardless of your initial risk. I explain how to do it on the Restoring Intestinal Flora page.
Eliminate all avoidable causes of colon cancer,
particularly if you are in a high-risk group. You‘ll find all
necessary recommendations on the Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors page.
Get off processed fiber and fiber laxatives.
The commonplace advice to consume dietary fiber and use
fiber laxatives to prevent colon cancer is flat out wrong, at least
if you believe the good doctors from the Harvard School of Public
Health whom I already cited here.
Finally, If you are a physician or epidemiologist, and would
like to get additional information about the perils of cancer (not just
colorectal) screening, I recommend
Gilbert Welch's book entitled Should I Be Tested for Cancer? The answer to this question is quite self-evident from the
subtitle: “Maybe Not and Here's Why!”
Dr. Welsh — an ultimate insider — presents a good number of compelling
reasons to explain why, in his own words “...cancer screening can do
more harm than good”, and supports his analysis with detailed
According to Dr. Welch, the fear-mongering involved and
risk of testing for other cancers are just as bad as for colon cancer.
What else is new — where there is easy money to be made, victims are
As you can see, a screening colonoscopy isn't the
panacea it‘s purported to be. Be mindful of the risks; removing the
causes of colon
cancer should come first. And
whether you do it or don't do it, it shouldn't be based on Ms. Couric‘s or my
opinion, but on your doctor's weighted recommendation and/or risks
factors discussed here.
Despite being well past 50, and in the high risk group
for colorectal cancer, neither myself nor my wife Tatyana have ever been
screened for colorectal cancer. We place more trust in functional nutrition and
God's will than in “just in case” testing.
If and when we will take any test,
we first must be darn sure that it's absolutely necessary. But as long as
nothing hurts, we aren't into playing Russian roulette. I learned this
a long time ago from an inside joke
popular among physicians: “Should we treat him, or let him live?”
It isn‘t as cynical as it may sound — medical doctors realize better
than most that all medical procedures are inherently risky. Therefore, please don't interpret my
analysis of screening colonoscopies as “Don't do it!”, but as “Don't overdo it!”
Finally, if you do decide to get screened, at the very
least you should restore intestinal flora after the
procedure, as explained here. Otherwise you may be increasing your risk of developing
new polyps and colorectal cancer long before the next screening is
due in five or ten years, depending on
your risk profile.
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references for this guide were compiled in March 2008. Some of the links
may not match at a later date because publishers may revise their web
sites. In this case, try searching cached pages on Google, or contact
the respective publishers.
 Update on Colorectal Cancer; Am
Fam Physician. 2000 Mar 15;61(6):1621-2, 1628 [link]
 The Impact of a Celebrity
Promotional Campaign on the Use of Colon Cancer Screening; The Katie
Couric Effect; Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 163 No. 13, July 14,
 Complications of
Colonoscopy; Ann Intern Med. 2006 Dec 19;145(12):880-6 [link]
 Assembly-line colonoscopies at clinic described;
Las Vegas Sun, March 9, 2008 [link]
 Whole Body Scanning Using
Computer Tomography (CT); What are the Radiation Risks from CT; U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, December 5, 2007 [link]
[6 Virtual Colonoscopy Misses
Nearly One Third of Lesions; The proceeds of the 68th annual scientific
meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology; Oct 15, 2003 [link]
 Irritable Bowel Syndrome; The National Digestive Diseases
Information Clearinghouse, NIH Publication No. 07–693, September 2007 [link]