Reducing Colorectal Cancer Screening's Ouch

CT colonoscopy improves participation in cancer screening

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Even thinking about a colonoscopy is most unpleasant, despite the fact that the procedure is usually very simple. Another tool is available that could increase the numbers of folks who undego this vitally important screening.

CT colonography is a colorectal cancer screening method that uses imaging technology to produce detailed pictures of the colon. A recent study shows screening participation was dramatically improved when this minimally invasive tool was offered in addition to traditional colonoscopies.

"Ask if CT colonography is available for your next colon cancer screening."

Colon cancer most often develops from polyps that are both preventable and treatable. Colonoscopies detect and remove polyps before they develop into full-blown colon cancer.

CT colonography requires no sedation and is far less invasive than traditional colonoscopies. If the images find suspicious areas, a colonoscopy is performed.

A team of researchers led by Evelien Dekker and Jaap Stoker from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, and Ernst Kuipers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam conducted a study to compare participation and diagnostic effectiveness between conventional colonoscopy and CT colonography.

Participants included individuals from Amsterdam who were 50 years of age and had average cancer risks.  Study participants were randomly selected to be invited for screening using colonoscopy or CT colonography.

Participation in CT colonography was 50 percent higher than screenings by conventional colonoscopies.

Authors conclude this difference was likely due to a difference in what individuals expected in terms of the difficulties and complications that could result from the procedures.

Conventional colonoscopy and CT colonography netted similar results in indentifying abnormal cell growth.

The authors suggest that both methods could be used for general population colorectal cancer screenings.

The authors add that having both technologies available could significantly impact the incidence and mortality rates of colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Europe.

This research was published Online First in the Lancet Oncology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 15, 2011
Last Updated:
November 16, 2011