A prospective study of the role of preoperative and routine follow-up colonoscopy in 75 patients with colon and rectal carcinoma disclosed that additional premalignant or malignant lesions were detected and successfully treated in 44 percent of patients. These included four synchronous and three metachronous carcinomas. Timely diagnosis and treatment of such tumors and secondary prevention of metachronous carcinomas by polypectomy is a major identifiable benefit of close follow-up examinations of these patients. No other test compares favorably with colonoscopy in this regard. These data support the conclusion that colonoscopy should be performed routinely preoperatively and every 6 to 12 months after colectomy for carcinoma.
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