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ASGE Encourages Patients to Speak to Their Doctor About Colorectal Cancer Screening Options
Date:9/17/2008

portant to recognize that even small polyps can infrequently harbor early or advanced cancer. Follow up CT examinations will also expose patients to cumulative doses of radiation. Data published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 29, 2007), pointed to the potential dangers of radiation exposure over a person's lifetime from diagnostic medical testing using CT scans. Recent articles in Time (June 27, 2008) and the New York Times (June 29, 2008) also noted the radiation risks of CT scans. CT colonography could negatively impact the cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening, as each positive CT colonography will require a subsequent colonoscopy.

"ASGE supports colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening because it offers the advantage of allowing for detection and prevention through the removal of polyps during the same procedure, without unnecessary radiation exposure. Colonoscopy also has a high detection rate for polyps of all sizes and is the only method that allows us to remove polyps before they turn into cancer," said Petrini.

According to a study released in October 2007 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer deaths dropped nearly 5 percent between 2002 and 2004, more than the other major cancer killers (prostate, breast, lung). Among the key factors playing a role in the decline was prevention through screening and the removal of precancerous polyps. This is excellent news and reinforces the importance of colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50, or even younger if there is a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

If CT colonography is a method patients are considering, they must understand its limitations:

-- Requires the same bowel prep as colonoscopy.

-- Does not detect small polyps.

-- Does not have the ability to remove polyps.

-- Requires the insertion of a small tube in the rectum and insufflation of'/>"/>

SOURCE American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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