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MNGI Digestive Health and its physicians are concerned about the headlines and news stories that have been shared by the media this week, regarding the New England Journal of Medicine Article - NordICC Trial: Effect of Colonoscopy Screening on Risks of Colorectal Cancer and Related Death (10/9/22).

After reviewing data from the Nordic-European Initiative on Colorectal Cancer (NordICC) trial and the commentary published with it, MNGI Digestive Health (MNGI) believes the subsequent headlines and media coverage has been misleading and also failed to convey the study’s limitations, which poses a risk to public health. For that reason, this statement provides important clarifications and reminders about colonoscopy for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

MNGI’s President and CEO, Dr. Scott Ketover had this to say, “MNGI Digestive Health and its physicians are concerned about the messages that have been shared by the media this week. Even though the initial headlines were potentially detrimental to colonoscopy screening in the short term, MNGI along with other healthcare providers and public health advocates, will use this opportunity to drive more public conversations about the importance of colonoscopy and being screened early for colorectal cancer. For a number of reasons, the data from the NordICC trial does not parallel the colorectal cancer screening and prevention work that is being done in the United States. Colorectal cancer is deadly but also highly preventable and Americans should not be deterred from their screening colonoscopy. A colonoscopy by a highly skilled gastroenterologist is still the best and most trusted way to save lives and why it is recommended for adults beginning at age 45. Even in this study, patients who did undergo a colonoscopy had a 31 percent decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer as compared to those who were not screened, which points to the value of continued screening. Again, there’s nothing in this study that indicates a change in direction for Americans or their health care providers. Colonoscopies save lives and the earlier detection the better.”

The study did reinforce some key items that patients and referring providers should be reminded of –

  • Colonoscopy saves lives and remains the gold standard for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.
  • A skilled and experienced gastroenterologist performing the colonoscopy makes a difference.
  • Screening colonoscopy is effective when it is used.
  • Continued education and discussion are critically important.

Additional details can be found in MNGI’s full statement