Colon cancer detection: An algorithm using endoscopy and barium enema
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A review of findings on flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS), colonoscopy and selected double-contrast barium enema (DCBE) radiographs from a group of 66 patients with rectal bleeding was performed to test the value of an algorithm in the detection of colonic cancers and polyps. In this algorithm the FS findings would direct patients either to colonoscopy or to a modified DCBE which focused attention on the colon proximal to the sigmoid. Only patients with neoplasms diagnosed by FS, or by MDCBE after negative FS, would proceed to colonoscopy. The study population contained four cancers, 11 polyps > 5 mm and 11 polyps < or = 5 mm; FS+MDCBE missed four polyps, all < 5 mm. For polyps > 5 mm and cancer, FS+MDCBE had a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 82%, a negative predictive value of 1.0 and a positive predictive value of 0.62. Using the algorithm, 24 patients (36%) would have required colonoscopy. The results suggest that FS+MDCBE is a potentially valuable method for screening patients for colonic neoplasia.
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