Narrator: This is Science Today. When it comes to detecting colorectal cancer, flexible sigmoidoscopy is one of the most common screening tools. But a University of California, San Francisco study found that the chance of an inadequate sigmoidoscopy examination increases with old age. In fact, Louise Walter, a staff physician in geriatrics at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, discovered that women were twice as likely as men to have inadequate sigmoidoscopies.
Walter: The most likely explanation is probably anatomical differences - women's colons are different than men's. There's a sharper turn at the sigmoid colon, making the flexible sigmoidoscopy harder to get around.
Narrator: There are three screening tools for colorectal cancer - the colonoscopy, the flexible sigmoidoscopy and the fecal occult blood test. Walter says there are risks and benefits to each.
Walter: This study is certainly not meant to say you shouldn't get screened. It's more trying to - of the three screening tests that you could do, which one would be the most likely to have more benefits than risks and this is just helping in that decision.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.