X-Ray May Be Alternative to Colonoscopy

A federal study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that "virtual colonoscopies," which use X-ray technology to detect colorectal cancer, are a viable alternative to regular colonoscopies, highly unpopular with patients. They detected cancer in 9 out of 10 patients whose cancer was confirmed by regular colonoscopies. And so Medicare is considering reimbursement for the procedure, which is cheaper ($300-$800 vs.

September 19, 2008

1 Min Read
X-Ray May Be Alternative to Colonoscopy

$3000) and less invasive than regular colonoscopies, reports the Associated Press.Virtual colonoscopies were better at ruling out cancer than at detecting it, so they may be best used as a screening tool to determine who needs a regular colonoscopy, the study authors said. The news could mean that more people now get screened for colorectal cancer. However, radiologists often misread the X-rays to see polyps that weren't there, so a lot of unnecessary follow-up testing resulted. That could be an argument for the eventual use of DNA screening tests.Preliminary findings from the study had prompted the American Cancer Society to add virtual colonoscopies to its list of recommended screening methods for colon cancer in March.

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