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National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening and Care Conveys Concerns over CT Colonography
Date:10/13/2008

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening and Care is highlighting concerns over the National CT Colonography Study published September 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The evidence must be closely evaluated, and patients need to recognize that CT Colonography is not without significant potential risks. The National Coalition reminds patients that Colonoscopy remains the "Gold Standard" for colorectal cancer screening, given its excellent sensitivity in detecting polyps and its potential for removing them at the same sitting.

Screening by CT Colonography (CTC) for patients who would otherwise forego preventive screening clearly improves the likelihood of early detection. However, substituting CTC for a complete colonoscopy creates the potential for a sizeable miss rate in the detection of high risk pre-cancerous lesions.

Steven J. Morris, MD JD FACP FACG, National Coalition Board Chairperson and CEO of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, LLC states "This study raises numerous concerns for clinicians and patients. Relying primarily on CT Colonography screening exposes patients to the risk of undetected and unreported pre-cancerous growths, the need for follow-up with colonoscopy, radiation exposure, and the associated risks and unrealistic cost assumptions about predicted savings."

By focusing only on polyps of 6 mm or greater in size, the study authors ignored the significant number of pre-cancerous polyps that are detected during a Colonoscopy which are 5 mm or smaller. Equally troubling is that 17 percent of study patients required subsequent referral for Colonoscopy to remove polyps, and other studies have described a referral rate that approaches 30%. The need for follow-up procedures creates additional inconvenience and costs for patients and payors.

When comparing the efficacy between the two patient groups in the study [i.e., CTC versus traditional optic
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SOURCE National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screeningand Care
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