Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the National CT Colonography Trial, finding virtual colonoscopy (VC) to be a beneficial tool for colon cancer screening. The study of 2,531 asymptomatic patients, led by Dr. C. Daniel Johnson of the Mayo Clinic, was the largest of its kind.
The study measured VC sensitivity for the detection of adenoma growths 1 cm and larger, as compared to standard colonoscopy. The team found a 90% per-patient sensitivity rate, comparable to that of standard colonoscopy.
VC does not require sedation, and can be completed within 30 minutes, according to Judy Yee, MD, one of the study's co-authors. Additionally, the study found pre-cancerous lesions in 27 asymptomatic patients that were missed by traditional colonoscopy.
"These patients had no cancer symptoms," stressed Yee. "They were simply healthy older adults, typical of people who should be screened for colon cancer according to current screening standards" (from a Science Daily press release).
This information means that virtual colonoscopy is as effective as more invasive procedures, giving screening candidates more options. Considering that colon cancer is the #2 cause of cancer-related deaths in America, this study is a boon to the fight against cancer.
For more information about colon cancer screening, visit The Mayo Clinic's website.