STOOL MARKER    -for prep-less Virtual Colonoscopy

image courtesy of Dr P. Byrne

ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE

Colorectal cancer screening is being promoted by major medical organisations, such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) in the USA, and is now being re-imbursed by several Healthcare provider organisations. Underlying this ACS advocacy has been the discovery that most colorectal cancers arise from pre-existent adenomatous polyps over a 10 year timescale. Their detection and removal will result in a decrease in the incidence and mortality rate of colorectal cancer. Some researchers have declared that 90% of colorectal cancers could be prevented in this way.
There are several techniques currently in use for colo-rectal screening, but the accepted "gold standard" is optical colonoscopy. Rising now to challenge this standing is the totally radiological technique, known variously as VIRTUAL COLONOSCOPY, CT colonography and CT colography. The method uses data obtained from a whole body CT scan and reconstructs it, using specific software, to recreate 3D images of the colon, similar to those that would be seen with conventional colonoscopy. The above image shows the result.

Over past years the cost of performing CT colonography has plummeted due to on-going technical developments. The technique is now less expensive than a standard colonoscopy and the differential is expected to widen with further software development. This alone explains why healthcare providers are quickly adopting the technique. Another reason for itís acceptance with the public is that virtual colonoscopy is less invasive than a barium enema or an optical colonoscopy.
Several public and private providers are already using this technique in the USA and Europe. As such, it has joined barium enema and colonoscopy as the only screening methods that provide a whole-of-colon assessment. Leave this site to read more about virtual colonoscopy.

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