In IBD patients who did develop bowel cancer, mortality was 14 per cent among those who had recently undergone colonoscopy compared with 34 per cent for those who had not.
The researchers said colonoscopy had been shown to decrease bowel cancer deaths in the general population, but this had not previously been shown for IBD patients. The findings were presented recently at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.
Meanwhile in Australia, new research has shown that advanced imaging technology that triples the field of view during colonoscopies can increase the detection rate of polyps by almost one-third (31.3%) in IBD patients.
Full Spectrum Endoscopy (FUSE) uses three cameras to inspect the lining of the bowel providing a sweeping 330-degree view instead of a single forward-facing camera offering a 170-degree view of traditional colonoscopes.
Speaking at Australian Gastroenterology Week, Professor Rupert Leong from Gastroenterology & Liver Services at Concord Hospital, said the new technology had already been shown to increase detection of bowel polyps in people without IBD.
"We are now applying the technology to IBD where the flat lesions typical in IBD that may progress to cancer are harder to identify than sporadic polyps."
Professor Leong said based on recently published Sydney data, about two per cent of IBD patients will develop bowel cancer after 10 years, about seven per cent after 20 years, and 10 per cent after 30 years.
"Repeat surveillance colonoscopies drive a lot of the demand for colonoscopy in Australia. If we can safely increase the interval between colonoscopies then we can improve overall access for more people," Professor Leong said.