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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Aug;16(4):257-61.

Prevalence of polyps and diverticulosis of the large bowel in the Cretan population. An autopsy study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Benizelion General Hospital, Heraklion-Crete, Greece.


While a number of studies have been performed in the United States, northern Europe, and some other countries on the epidemiology of large bowel polyps and diverticulosis, information from southern Europe and especially Greece is very limited. Our autopsy study sought to determine the prevalence of large bowel polyps and diverticulosis in the population on Crete. Specimens of colon and rectum were obtained during forensic postmortem autopsies and examined for the presence of polypoid lesions and diverticulosis. Data were collected from a total of 502 autopsies (320 men, 182 women; median age 65 years (range 16-93). Polyps were found in 106 cases (21.1%). These were adenomas in 73 cases (14.5%), hyperplastic polyps in 25 (4.9%), and mucosal tags in 8 (1.5%). Diverticulosis of the large bowel was found in 115 (22.9%). The prevalence of adenomas and diverticulosis increased with advanced age. The prevalence of colonic diverticulosis in Crete is slightly lower than that which has been reported in most other studies in economically developed countries. The prevalence of colorectal adenomas in Crete is one of the lowest rates reported in Europe and is compatible to the known low incidence of colorectal cancer in Crete.

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