The value of virtual colonoscopy

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 7, 2007

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A new study found that removing colon lesions that are 5 mm or smaller does little to significantly reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer and, in fact, results in extremely high costs and a large number of adverse events.

The study, available online in the April 23 Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, determined that, given the low malignancy rate of these small polyps, virtual colonoscopy accompanied by removal of lesions 6mm or greater provides the best value per life year gained with fewer complications.

Previous studies found that virtual colonoscopy was more expensive than optical colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy. But that result was arrived at by calculating the cost of removing small polyps despite current guidelines recommending that only polyps larger than 5mm be reported.

Providing additional effective screening options such as virtual colonoscopy could encourage more adults to undergo screening for colorectal cancer, the authors said. The print version of the study will be published in the June 1 Cancer.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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