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For Some, Virtual Colonoscopy May Be Just As Good
Date:6/16/2009

Less invasive test might spur more people to be screened, experts say,,,,

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) - CT colonography, a less invasive option to colonoscopy, is an effective way to detect colon cancer in people who have an elevated risk of the disease because of family history or a personal history of colon polyps, new research has found.

However, the study, in the June 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that CT colonography (also known as "virtual colonoscopy") is less effective at correctly identifying colon cancers in people who've had a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which means they have blood in their stool. A positive FOBT is a strong indicator that cancer might be present.

"People should be aware that colorectal cancer is a preventable disease," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Cristiana Laudi, a senior clinical researcher in the departments of gastroenterology and radiology at the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment in Candiolo, Turin, Italy. "Our data suggest that CT colonography may provide a valid screening test also in subjects at increased risk of colorectal cancer."

Laudi said the findings are particularly important because colonoscopy screenings tend to have low adherence rates, and a less invasive test might boost compliance rates.

The American Cancer Society already recommends CT colonography as an option for people who have an average risk of colorectal cancer, according to Dr. Durado Brooks, director of colorectal cancer for the society. And the study, he said, provides some evidence that CT colonography might also be useful in high-risk populations.

"The sensitivity for cancer was extremely high," Brooks said. But the test did miss some polyps, he added. And he cautioned that the findings need to be confirmed by others before any definitive recommendations can be made.

The study included 93
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