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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Virtual Colonoscopy Nears Prime Time

CT Colon Scan Finds Cancer as Well as Colonoscopy
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Virtual Colonoscopy: Ready for Prime Time?

If CTC works so well, with so little risk, why isn't it now recommended for colon cancer screening? That's what WebMD asked Durado Brooks, MD, MPH, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society.

"The big question is whether the larger community of radiologists can get the same sort of very encouraging results we see in this study," Brooks tells WebMD. "These guys at Wisconsin have a great deal of experience using this technology in a setting where the technicians and everybody else is used to doing this. This is off the scale for community doctors who do CT scans."

But Brooks says we'll soon have an answer to this question. A large NCI-funded study is looking at how well CTC works when done by a large number of different radiologists. The study is completed and results should be available early next year.

"If these kinds of findings can be replicated, it would enhance the likelihood this would become another alternative for colorectal cancer screening," Brooks says. "So CT colonography could be added to the American Cancer Society recommendations if research suggests it can be done efficiently, safely, and with consistent performance in a variety of settings."

Pickhardt says an early look at the results of this CTC validation study are "very good" and "gratifying."

"If the American Cancer Society recognizes this as a valid colon cancer screening test, then insurance companies will pay for it and it will take off," he says. "This has been a long time coming, but now is an exciting time."

Kim, Pickhardt, and colleagues report their findings in the Oct. 4 issue of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.

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