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Virtual colonoscopy allows detection of unsuspected cancers beyond colon
Date:3/22/2010

OAK BROOK, Ill. A new, large-scale study of more than 10,000 adults found that more than one in every 200 asymptomatic people screened with CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, had clinically unsuspected malignant cancer and more than half of the cancers were located outside the colon. The findings were published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.

"We are finding that virtual colonoscopy screening actually identifies more unsuspected cancers outside of the colon than within it," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of GI Imaging, at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. "As with asymptomatic colorectal cancers identified by virtual colonoscopy screening, these cancers are often detected at an early, curable stage."

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and the National Cancer Institute estimated that there would be 146,970 new cases diagnosed in 2009 and 49,920 deaths. The disease is largely preventable through screening for colon polyps, which are benign growths that may develop into cancer if not removed. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 50, but current compliance with this recommendation is below 50 percent. Many people resist screening because of the discomfort and inconvenience caused by the conventional optical colonoscopy test.

Virtual colonoscopy is less invasive than optical colonoscopy and produces precise and detailed "fly-through" images of the entire colon's interior without having to insert a scope. With virtual colonoscopy screening, there is essentially no risk of bleeding or of perforating the colon. There is no need for intravenous sedation, and the procedure is less costly than conventional optical colonoscopy. It also is more convenient, typically taking 10 minutes or less.

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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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