Virtual Colonoscopy Rivals Standard Colonoscopy for Accuracy

Recent studies are demonstrating that Computerized tomographic (CT) colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is as accurate as standard colonoscopy in its ability to accurately detect cancer and precancerous polyps. Recent studies are demonstrating that Computerized tomographic (CT) colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is as accurate as standard colonoscopy in its ability to accurately detect cancer and precancerous polyps. As a result the virtual colonoscopy could serve as an initial screening exam for colorectal cancer. It is hoped that non-invasive virtual colonoscopy will encourage more people over 50 to do this life-saving screening. The results of this study were published in the Sept. 18, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The principal investigator C. Daniel Johnson, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., said: "CT colonography could be adopted into the mainstream of clinical practice as a primary option for colorectal cancer screening.

We hope that this additional, less-invasive option for cancer screening will lead more people to get screened and will ultimately result in fewer deaths from colorectal cancer, "CT colonography employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization of the entire colon and rectum that permits a thorough and minimally invasive evaluation of the entire colon and rectum.

The ACRIN trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), enrolled more than 2,600 patients at 15 sites nationwide. It is the largest multi-center study to compare the accuracy of state-of-the-art CT colonography to the gold standard of conventional colonoscopy. The results of this study are published in the Sept. 18, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

 Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. While it is highly recommended that adults aged 50 and older receive a colonoscopy every 5 to10, studies indicate that the majority of Americans age 50 and older are not being screened for the disease.


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