Panel: Virtual colonoscopy viable for cancer screening

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Gastroenterology-Urology Devices Panel and Radiological Devices Panel found that virtual colonoscopy is a viable option for screening asymptomatic patients over the age of 50 for colon cancer.

The panel, which met last week, found that virtual colonoscopy (or CT colonography) yielded sensitivity and specificity ratings similar to those observed with optical colonoscopy (OC) for the detection of adenomatous polyps and colorectal cancer, with higher detection rates for larger polyps after looking at multiple studies, according to a Healio post. A majority of the panel concluded that virtual colonoscopy was comparable to optical colonscopy when it comes to detecting cancers, and that its availability likely would increase the number of patients undergoing screening.

"We know that about one-third of patients in the U.S. are not screened according to guidelines," James Ahlgren, M.D., of George Washington University Medical Center in McLean, Va., said. "There are many reasons those patients are not being screened; the fact that they would prefer some other test is probably not the biggest one. ... But, if there are any patients who will choose CTC and would not otherwise have adequate screening, then we should offer this to them." Article

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