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Bethesda, Maryland (Nov. 1, 2004) Two studies published today show that widespread use of virtual colonoscopy will ultimately decrease demand for traditional colonoscopy and increase colorectal cancer screening rates, and "prepless" virtual colonoscopy is as effective as the traditional method of colorectal cancer screening. These studies were published in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Guidelines of multiple agencies and professional societies underscore the importance of colorectal cancer screening for all individuals 50 years of age and older.

Virtual Colonoscopy for Colorectal Cancer Screening Reduces the Number of Traditional Colonoscopies, Researchers Say
(The Impact of CT Colonography on Colonoscopy Demand, Hur et al.)

Some researchers have argued that the widespread use of virtual colonoscopy will lead to an increase in the total number of traditional colonoscopies performed each year, as traditional colonoscopies are necessary to further study the polyps found in patients undergoing the virtual process. However, in this month's issue of Gastroenterology, Harvard researchers say that increased use of virtual colonoscopy will instead lead to a decrease in the number of traditional colonoscopies.

Results of this study suggest that the number of colonoscopies reported could be reduced by 28 percent if virtual colonoscopy was widely implemented. In a previous analysis by the AGA, virtual colonoscopy was found to be a promising treatment with limitations, such as the inability to consistently detect flat polyps or those smaller than one centimeter.

The Harvard study's projected decrease in traditional colonoscopies varied depending on the polyp size "threshold" or the size polyp used to qualify a patient for a follow-up colonoscopy--a larger po
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Contact: Kimberly Wise
kwise@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
1-Nov-2004


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