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Study Supports CT-Based 'Virtual' Colonoscopy to Spot Colon Cancer
Date:2/23/2012

than that of standard colonoscopy."

There is also the issue of cost. "Costs of the two procedures are comparable but a direct head-to-head cost analysis has not yet been performed and will have significant regional variability," Bernstein said. "The cost of CT colonography must also include the cost of repeat colonic preparation and standard colonoscopy when abnormalities are found."

However, study author Johnson calls CT colonography "a perfectly viable colorectal cancer screening tool for the traditional Medicare-age population." He also believes that, "wider availability made possible by Medicare coverage of CT colonography would attract more seniors to be screened for colorectal cancer -- which is so successfully treated when detected early. Making CT colonography more available to seniors ultimately could save lives."

For his part, Bernstein said that, "while the CT colonography may have a diagnostic role in certain subsets of patients, it is too early to promote this technique for widespread colon cancer screening."

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about virtual colonoscopy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Roshini Rajapaksa, M.D., gastroenterologist, NYU Langone Medical Center and assistant professor, NYU School of Medicine, New York City; David Bernstein, M.D., chief, division of gastroenterology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Radiology, news release, Feb. 20, 2012


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