Virtual Colonoscopy Does Not Raise Cancer Risks

Uncomfortable, but free of radiation:
classic endoscopic colonoscopy
© PHIL

"It's good news that the radiation risk is low with CT colonography, but many practical issues need to be addressed before the test can be recommended to patients for routine colorectal cancer screening," said AGA President David A. Peura, MD. "Evaluating issues of standardisation and accuracy of test results and addressing disparities in consistent and uniform training of professionals performing the test should be the focus of future studies."

"In addition, the procedure still requires a great amount of bowel preparation and causes discomfort - both issues largely affect the current state of patient compliance in colorectal cancer screening," he adds.

Researchers from the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center estimated the radiation dose to different organs from adult CT colonography scans. The study found the estimated lifetime risk of cancer as a result of radiation from CT colonography in a 50-year-old subject is about 0.14 percent and 0.022 percent for a 70-year-old patient. The main organs found to be at risk for cancer are the colon, stomach and bladder.

"Our study shows that radiation risks associated with virtual colonoscopy are relatively small - much smaller, for example, than for CT-based lung cancer screening," said David J. Brenner, PhD, lead study author with the Columbia University Medical Center. "With the potential for low cancer risks and the use of non-cathartic bowel preparation, virtual colonoscopy is a very promising modality which could potentially increase patient compliance with current guidelines for colorectal cancer screening."

MEDICA.de; Source: American Gastroenterological Association