Background: There are limited colonoscopy-based cohort data concerning the effectiveness of colonoscopy in reducing colorectal cancer deaths. The aim of this study was to clarify whether colonoscopy reduces colorectal cancer mortality. Methods: A cohort of 18,816 patients who underwent colonoscopy without a diagnosis of colorectal cancer between 2001 and 2010 at high colonoscopy procedure volume centers was selected. Patient characteristics and colonoscopy findings were assessed. The main endpoint was colorectal cancer death (all, right-sided, and left-sided cancers), and data were censored at the time of the final visit or the final colonoscopy. The standardized all colorectal, colon, and rectal cancer mortality rates were estimated with reference to those of the general Japanese population. Additional outcome was all- cause death and the standardized all-cause mortality rate was also estimated. Results: The total observed person-year mortality for colorectal cancer was 67,119. Of these, 4, 3, and 1 patients died from colorectal, colon, and rectal cancers, respectively; these values were significantly lower than the number of expected deaths in the general population, estimated to be 53.1, 34.0, and 19.1, respectively. The standardized mortalities for all colorectal, colon, and rectal cancers were 0.08 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.02–0.17), 0.09 (95% CI, 0.02–0.22), and 0.05 (95% CI, 0.0002–0.21), respectively. There were 586 all-cause deaths (3.11%) during the observation period. The standardized all-cause mortality ratios were 0.22 (95% CI, 0.206–0.23). Conclusions: The colorectal cancer mortality of patients who received colonoscopy without colorectal cancer diagnosis decreased significantly compared with that of individuals in the general population. These results were compatible even in patients with right-sided colon cancer.
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