How does colonoscopy compare with fecal occult blood testing as a screening tool for colon cancer?
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No studies have directly compared colonoscopy with fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Multiple screening trials have demonstrated that a primary strategy of 3-card home FOBT with follow-up colonoscopy for positive results is associated with a significant reduction in mortality from colorectalcancer (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, based on systematic reviews of randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials). A single negative office-based digital FOBT does not decrease the likelihood of advanced neoplasia (SOR: B, based on a single prospective cohort study). There are no publications of screening trials with colonoscopy, but the odds of dying from colorectal cancer are lower for patients undergoing colonoscopy compared with patients not having a colonoscopy (SOR: B, based on extrapolation from a case-control study). Both strategies are cost-effective (SOR: A, based on a systematic review of high-quality cost-effective analyses).
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