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Penn Study finds virtual colonoscopy is used appropriately, may expand screening to more patients
Date:4/5/2013

s such, it is reassuring that CTC following incomplete optical colonoscopy is covered by most insurance companies and CMS."

Additionally, 30 percent of the patients who underwent CTC had no history of incomplete OC but demonstrated other medically appropriate indications for screening CTC including risk of bleeding or sedation complications. Although the researchers were not able to assess through the claims data studied how many of these patients would not have been screened without the option of CTC, it does suggest that during the study period, this test may have expanded colorectal cancer screening as opposed to simply replacing optical colonoscopy. (Prior research has shown that nearly 30 percent of patients would not undergo optical colonoscopy if CTC were not available.) "Additional research is needed in this important area since approximately 40 to 50 percent of Medicare patients do not undergo any recommended method of colon cancer screening," Zafar said.

The Penn Medicine study also found lower utilization of CTC among asymptomatic non-white patients. It is not clear whether this decreased utilization is due to overall lower rates of colorectal cancer screening in this group of patients, patient preference, or diminished access to imaging technology. But previous findings indicate that minority populations are less likely to be aware of colorectal cancer screening procedures and more likely to believe that screening is only needed after symptoms develop -- both represent barriers to colorectal cancer screening compliance. "Given the higher incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer among black patients and lower rates of screening in minority patients overall, this cohort could benefit most through CTC," said Zafar.

Colorectal cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women, as well as the third leading cause of cancer death for 2012 in the United States. Although it is largely preventable through co
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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