Reducing the need for colonoscopy

Posted 13 Dec 2019

Could biomarkers in blood or stool reduce unnecessary colonoscopies?

More than 300,000 colonoscopies are performed in Australia each year for people experiencing symptoms, and often nothing serious is found.

Enormous strain is placed on the healthcare system with long waiting lists, increased costs, and risks for patients undergoing the procedure.

To help combat this, Flinders University’s Associate Professor Erin Symonds is investigating whether the number of colonoscopies performed can be safely reduced.

Using a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant, Assoc Prof Symonds will analyse markers in blood and stool samples from patients recommended for colonoscopy after reporting symptoms including abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits or other gut symptoms.

Stool samples for this study will be collected using easy at home screening tests, as used in standard bowel cancer screening test kits

The marker results will then be compared with the colonoscopy findings, to help determine patients who don’t need to undergo the procedure.

This research has the potential to reduce unnecessary risk to patients, reduce waiting lists for colonoscopies, and reduce Australian healthcare costs.

Project title: Reducing the need for colonoscopy using biomarkers in symptomatic patients.

Lead researcher: Associate Professor Erin Symonds


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