Virtual colonoscopies are newest tools against deadly cancer

Many people still skip screenings for colorectal cancer even though the condition is one of the most commonly diagnosed and is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

A 3-D virtual colonoscopy – a quicker, less-invasive version of the dreaded screening test – is an option for patients and doctors to consider. Using an imaging technique known as computerized tomography (CT) and virtual reality computer software, physicians can view and evaluate detailed images of the inside of the colon and rectum.

“Virtual colonoscopy is designed to take some of the discomfort out of the exam,” says Dr. Cecelia Brewington, professor of radiology and vice chairman of imaging services at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “The procedure typically lasts about 15 minutes and does not require sedation or insertion of a scope into the colon.”

Dr. Brewington says the 3-D test is nearly as accurate as a conventional invasive colonoscopy and can detect polyps bigger than 10 millimeters (0.39 inches) with 90 percent accuracy.

The virtual procedure, however, is not recommended for patients who have been previously diagnosed with polyps or colon cancer.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/radiology to learn more about clinical imaging services at UT Southwestern. Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/cancercenter to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for cancer.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

Return to March 2010 News Tips

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