Screening appears to be safe, effective for older people, study finds
THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Virtual colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to screen older patients for colorectal cancer, a new study indicates.
Researchers looked at the use of computed tomographic colonography (CTC) in 577 patients aged 65 to 79 and found it an effective way to screen for colorectal cancer in elderly patients. It produces low referral-for-colonoscopy rates that are similar to other screening tests covered by Medicare, and doesn't result in unreasonable levels of additional testing because of extracolonic findings, they noted.
"There have been questions raised that factors such as the [colonoscopy] referral rate and extracolonic work-up rates would be too high in an older population for CTC to be a cost-effective, frontline colorectal cancer screening exam. Our results suggest otherwise and that these rates remain in a reasonable range," principal investigator Dr. David H. Kim, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a news release.
Among the findings:
"The lack of complications, particularly no perforations, attests to the safety of this procedure even in the older population. Given what we know of the increasing risk for complications for optical colonoscopy in older patients, perhaps we should consider CT colonography more strongly in this particular group," said Kim.
The study is published in the February issue of Radiology.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colorectal cancer screening.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American College of Radiology/American Roentgen Ray Society, news release, Jan. 26, 2010
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