Dr. Walt's Health Blog

Virtual colonoscopy similar to standard colonoscopy in detecting cancer, polyps

Readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of colonoscopy for colon cancer screening. Now I’m becoming a fan of a newer and easier form of colon cancer screening called “virtual colonoscopy.”HealthDay reports, “Noninvasive, CT-guided ‘virtual’ colonoscopy is similar to standard colonoscopy in its ability to detect colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps in people 65 and older,” according to a study in Radiology.

Although lead researcher Dr. C. Daniel Johnson called “CT colonography ‘a perfectly viable colorectal cancer screening tool for the traditional Medicare-age population,’” gastroenterologist Dr. David Bernstein “said that, ‘while the CT colonography may have a diagnostic role in certain subsets of patients, it is too early to promote this technique for widespread colon cancer screening.’”

MedPage Today reports, “The American College of Radiology and the partially industry-sponsored patient advocacy group Colon Cancer Alliance agreed” with the researchers’ results, “issuing a joint statement demanding coverage by Medicare. CT colonography could boost screening rates and is already reimbursed by several major private insurers, they argued.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid declined to cover CT for colorectal cancer screening in 2009,” arguing in part “that the technology wasn’t proven for its population, because most trials included few Medicare-age patients or excluded them entirely.”

One Response to “Virtual colonoscopy similar to standard colonoscopy in detecting cancer, polyps”

  1. Andrew Spiegel writes:

    Industry sponsored? I don’t think the colon cancer alliance received 1% of its budget funding from the imaging industry. Our support of the virtual colonoscopy arises from it being an effective test. It is more effective than the FIT, FOBT, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy or Bariam Enema.,,,all approved screening modalities. The only reason VC is so controversial is the turf wars going on between the medical specialities. And as a patient advocacy group, we will not participate in or accept that. To suggest we are swayed by industry is simply misplaced.

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