February 8, 2013
New Study Shows Virtual Colonoscopy Could Increase Colon Cancer Screening Compliance
Study Proves Case for Virtual Colonoscopy to be Covered by Medicare
Washington, DC – A new study released in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology shows that the availability of CT colonography (CTC), also known as the virtual colonoscopy, is increasing colon cancer screening rates in military medical facilities.
What’s most exciting about this study is that it shows that providing virtual colonoscopy as a screening option raises overall colon cancer screening rates.
“What this means for the general public is that when more choices for colon cancer screenings are offered, overall screening rates go up,” explained Andrew Spiegel, Chief Executive Officer of the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA). “Right now, the message is clear that colonoscopy alone is not going to get everyone screened. Luckily, we have other very effective screening options. CT Colonography is a very reasonable alternative and should be approved by Medicare for all Americans.”
Virtual colonoscopy is a minimally invasive exam using low-dose computed tomography (CT). The exam uses cutting-edge, low radiation dose x-ray technology to produce two and three-dimensional images of the colon which doctors then examine for signs of colon cancer or precancerous polyps. People still have to clean their bowels to prep for the exam and the exam may not pick up the smallest polyps, yet the test remains an effective screening method.
Although virtual colonoscopy is included in the most recent screening guidelines jointly released by the American Cancer Society, the ACR, and the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, it has not been included as a qualifying test for the numerator of the HEDIS colon cancer screening metric.
“President Obama chose to have a virtual colonoscopy when he was screened for colon cancer,” Spiegel continued. “Unfortunately, Americans who rely upon Medicare for their healthcare do not have the same opportunity.”
This research project was funded by the Colon Cancer Alliance through an unrestricted grant from GE Healthcare.
The Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) is the oldest and largest patient advocacy organization dedicated to colorectal cancer and is a community that provides hope and support to patients and their families, while saving lives through screening, access, awareness, advocacy and research.