There's a safe, painless and effective way to dramatically lower your risk for colon cancer.

So naturally, the mainstream is trying its best to scrap it –-because a new study is pushing to replace colonoscopies with sigmoidoscopies. But don't let the longer name fool you--it's actually a shorter procedure, looking at only the distal, or lower third, of the colon.

Colonoscopies, on the other hand, go right up to the bitter end--allowing the doctors to detect polyps anywhere along the way.

I think you can see the problem here. Many doctors can, too, because the specialists who perform these procedures say colonoscopies often find polyps in the regions that would have been left unexplored by a sigmoidoscopy.

Despite that, the researchers behind the new analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association say they reviewed studies involving hundreds of patients and found that both procedures reduced colon cancer deaths by the same amount: 40 percent... implying that the exclusion of two thirds of the colon isn't much of a problem.

But there is a problem in the study--and it's a pretty big one: The researchers looked only at procedures performed overseas.

And before you dismiss that as xenophobic, consider this: In other nations, colonoscopies are performed by general practitioners. Here in the United States, on the other hand, they're carried out by specialists such as gastroenterologists.

There's a big difference between the two--because when it comes to colonoscopies, expertise is everything.

So when you schedule your own procedure--and I hope you do –-be sure to go with a pro. Remember, the hardest part isn't the actual colonoscopy. Thanks to anesthesia, you won't feel a thing.

No, anyone who's had one done will tell you the worst part is the day before--when you have to empty your bowels. In addition to spending the day hungry and drinking only clear liquids, you'll be given a special preparation that'll have you spending a lot of time on your porcelain throne.

And that's actually true whether you have a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy--so as long as the worst part of the experience for you is exactly the same, why settle for the lesser of the two procedures?