"Our positive experience with virtual colonoscopy screening covered by health insurance demonstrates its enormous potential for increasing compliance for colorectal cancer prevention and screening," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., associate professor of radiology at The University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. "In addition, recent technical improvements have resulted in even better performance results."
Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 148,610 new cases diagnosed in 2006 and 55,170 deaths. The disease is largely preventable through screening for colon polyps, which are benign growths that may develop into cancer if not removed. ACS recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 50, but current compliance with this recommendation remains well below 50 percent. Many people resist screening because of the discomfort and inconvenience caused by the standard optical colonoscopy test.
"Our goal is not to take patients away from existing strategies like optical colonoscopy, but rather to attract those who are currently not being screened at all," Dr. Pickhardt said.
Virtual colonoscopy is less invasive than optical colonoscopy and produces precise and detailed 3-D "fly-through" images of the entire colon's interior without having to insert a scope. With virtual colonoscopy screening, there is essentially no risk of bleeding or of perforating the colon. There is no need for intravenous sedation, and the procedure is less costly than conventional colonoscopy. It also is more convenient, typically taking 10 minutes or less, because patients need not recover from sedation.
"Both virtual colonoscopy and optical colonoscopy are excellent screening tests," Dr. Pickhardt said. "The advantages of virtual colonoscopy over optical colonoscopy at our institution are that it is safer, faster, less costly, more convenient, involves an easier bowel prep, and yet is just as effective for detecting important polyps and cancers."
In April 2004, local third-party insurance coverage was initiated for virtual colonoscopy screening by the major managed care providers in the Madison area. Over a one-year period, the researchers performed virtual colonoscopy screening exams on 1,110 asymptomatic adults, consisting of 585 women and 525 men with a mean age of 58.1 years.
Large (10 millimeters [mm] or more) colorectal polyps were identified in 43 (3.9 percent) of patients. Medium-sized lesions (6 mm - 9 mm) were identified in 77 (6.9 percent) patients. Patients without polyps 6 mm or larger were advised to follow a routine screening interval of five years. Most patients with medium-sized lesions chose to undergo follow-up with virtual colonoscopy. If all the patients with either a polyp larger than 6 mm or a nondiagnostic segment had undergone subsequent optical colonoscopy, the maximum referral rate would have been 11.9 percent.
Seventy-one of the 1,110 patients (6.4 percent) underwent subsequent optical colonoscopy. Sixty-one of these procedures were performed on the same day as virtual colonoscopy to avoid the need for repeat bowel preparation. The optical colonoscopy findings were in agreement with the virtual colonoscopy findings in 65 of the 71 patients.
The high rate of accuracy coupled with the low necessity for subsequent optical colonoscopy show virtual colonoscopy to be an attractive screening tool for colorectal cancer.
"In our experience, providing a less invasive, yet equally effective screening option like virtual colonoscopy has drawn many adults off the sidelines," Dr. Pickhardt said. "Since colorectal cancer is uniquely preventable, widespread virtual colonoscopy screening could lead to a significant reduction in mortality from this deadly disease."
Dr. Pickhardt anticipates that the positive clinical results of this study will lead to further acceptance from the medical community and that insurance coverage on the national level should start to take place within the next one to two years.
Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy