Virtual colonoscopy still has its skeptics


September 19, 2011

USA Today

Whether the most technologically advanced way to check for colon cancer will become the standard screening method of the future does not appear to be a slam-dunk.

The method, known as virtual colonoscopy, combines X-ray and computer technology to create three-dimensional views of the full length of the colon, the large intestine. It allows doctors to look for polyps, or pre-cancerous growths, or other signs of cancer or other intestinal disease. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, virtual colonoscopy can be done with computed tomography (called a CT or CAT scan) or with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Colon cancer is one of the few types of preventable cancer, with doctors able to find and remove pre-cancerous polyps in the colon before cancer can develop. The current "gold standard" procedure for colon cancer screening, however, is colonoscopy, a time-consuming procedure for which preparation is unpleasant and sedation is necessary... Read More