From Dr. Mercola:

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 nearly 135,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2012, and more than 51,500 died from it.

Men and women over the age of 50 at average risk of colorectal cancer are typically recommended to get tested either by:2

Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) on an annual basis, to check for signs of blood in your stool Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years Colonoscopy every 10 years

Despite the fact that there are three acceptable screening methods, most doctors simply recommend colonoscopy, and researchers have found that in most instances, doctors completely fail to review all the options and the benefits and drawbacks of each with their patients.

In essence, most doctors simply choose for their patients, without going through the steps of informed consent, and most often they choose colonoscopy.

When Given Options, More People Go Through with Testing

Interestingly, recent research3 shows that when patients are allowed to choose the screening method, more people end up going through with the test. As reported by Reuters:4

“About 1,000 patients were divided into three groups and randomly assigned to get either FOBT or colonoscopy, or given a choice between the two options.

Over three years, 42 percent of participants given a choice between the tests followed through with screening and 38 percent of people assigned to get colonoscopies did so. Just 14 percent of the patients assigned to FOBT got the test done each year.”

Side Effects and Drawbacks of Colonoscopies You Need to Be Aware Of

As noted in the video above, narrated by Dr. Michael Greger, about 1 in every 350 colonoscopies end up doing serious harm. Death from colonoscopy, while rare, also does occur.

The death rate is about 1 for every 1,000 procedures,5 and with 15 million colonoscopies being done each year in the U.S., that means about 15,000 Americans die as a result of this routine procedure.

Sigmoidoscopies tend to have 10 times fewer complications, yet most doctors still recommend colonoscopy nearly 95 percent of the time.

Interestingly, other developed countries favor the FOBT stool test. Part of the reason for this is that in other countries doctors do not get paid for procedure referrals.

In the U.S. however, doctors typically do get financial kickbacks when referring patients for various procedures, and as noted by Dr. Greger, “it’s estimated that doctors make nearly a million more referrals every year than they would have if they there were not personally profiting.”

Unfortunately, most doctors also fail to inform their patients of the risks of colonoscopy, which include:6,7

Perforation of the colon (people at higher risk include those with diverticulitis, diseases of the colon, and adhesions from pelvic surgery) Dysbiosis and other gut imbalances, caused by the process of flushing out your intestinal tract before the procedure with harsh laxatives8 Complications from the anesthesia. Many experts agree

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