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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Easier, Safer Colon Cancer Test?

Cutting-Edge Technologies Promise Less Discomfort, More Accurate Results
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Modified Scope Reduces Discomfort continued...

Working with researchers at the Sightline Corporation in Israel, Shike developed the ColonoSight to address the issues. The device, which has been approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA, uses a pneumatic mechanism to pull the device into the colon.

"The mechanism at the tip pulls the scope forward, much like an engine pulls a train," Shike tells WebMD. The result: Less discomfort and a lower risk of puncturing the colon. Also, less anesthesia is required for the procedure.

ColonoSight utilizes a disposable sheath, which lowers the chance infections will be spread from patient to patient, he says. Plus, it eliminates the need for disinfection between procedures, saving time and money.

In studies on 72 patients, there were no complications, Shike says. Like the traditional colonoscope, the device can be used to remove polyps.

"It's very important that while we are working on new technologies that people continue to undergo colonoscopy," he cautions. "Yes, it's a little embarrassing but compared to the ability to save lives, that's a very small price to pay."

Colonoscopy Beats out Virtual Colonoscopy

Also at the meeting, researchers reported that colonoscopy is far more accurate than colonoscopy than virtual colonoscopy for detecting polyps that can lead to cancerous growths. Virtual colonoscopy used computer generated images from a CT scan to look for colon abnormalities.

More surprisingly, the study shows that people are more willing to have a repeat colonoscopy than a repeat virtual colonoscopy, says Don C. Rockey, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Liver Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Many studies have shown that people "prefer the idea" of a virtual colonoscopy, he notes. That's because it uses computer-generated images of the large colon to detect polyps, avoiding the need to insert a long scope into the colon.

But once they have actually experienced both procedures, people preferred traditional colonoscopy. "I can only speculate why," Rockey tells WebMD, "but it's probably because they were sedated. They get narcotics to dull the pain and medication to relax, like Valium."

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