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Study: Virtual Colonoscopy Effective

Thursday, 23 February 2012 03:25 PM

Here’s good news for anyone who’s felt apprehensive about getting a colonoscopy.
Mayo Clinic researchers, writing in the journal Radiology, say they have found virtual colonoscopy is as effective as the standard variety at detecting colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps.
The study, of patients 65 and older, confirms the results of a landmark 2008 clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that the less-invasive lower-cost virtual exam can serve as a primary screening option.
In response to the new study, the American Cancer Society and other health advocates called on federal officials to cover the procedure under Medicare, which could make it more widely available – and covered by health insurance – across the country.
“The minimal invasiveness and lower cost of [virtual colonoscopy] can attract more seniors to be screened if Medicare will cover them for the exam,” said Andrew Spiegel, head of the Colon Cancer Alliance, a patient advocacy group. “Many seniors, who might not get tested otherwise, can’t afford the added cost of paying for the exam themselves and may ultimately pay with their lives if Medicare does not provide coverage.”
The “virtual” colonoscopy uses high-tech, low-dose X-rays to produce three-dimensional, moving images of the colon. The procedure, also called a colonography, doesn’t require sedation. Afterward, people can go back to daily activities.

The new study, led by Mayo Clinic researcher C. Daniel Johnson, involved 2,600 patients at 15 US medical centers to compare the accuracy of state-of-the-art colonography to conventional colonoscopy. Researchers found the virtual test detected 90 percent of the polyps most likely to become cancerous.

© HealthDay

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Less-invasive lower-cost virtual exam can be a primary tool against colorectal cancer, researchers say.
Thursday, 23 February 2012 03:25 PM
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