CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) is Effective in Seniors

I recently co-authored one of the largest studies to date examining the effectiveness of CT Colonography (virtual colonoscopy) in older individuals. The results of this research were published online February 23, 2012 in Radiology. The analysis from the National CT Colonography Trial included 497 patients aged 65 years or older. The San Francisco VA Medical Center was one of 15 sites at which the study was conducted.

Results showed that the less invasive CT version of this test is as effective in spotting precancerous polyps when comparing older participants to younger participants. Additionally, CT Colonography was found to be comparable to standard colonoscopy for identifying significant polyps in seniors.

Elderly patients may have difficulty undergoing the standard colonoscopy because it is more invasive and requires sedation. CT Colonography, however, is easier for patients since it does not require any sedation and there is a much lower risk of complications, such as perforating the colon.

CT Colonography is endorsed by the American Cancer Society as a recommended screening test. Many adults decide to skip colon cancer screening every year. And yet one American dies of colorectal cancer every 9 minutes. March has been named Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by Congress so it is a perfect time to get screened for this preventable malignancy.