A High Tech Option for Colon Cancer Screening
Stony Brook Medicine expert reminds patients about another method used to detect disease during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
STONY BROOK, NY, March 19, 2015 – Colonoscopies are one of those necessary screenings that people tend to put off — despite the fact that if detected early, colorectal cancers have extremely high survival rates. In recent years, an alternative to the traditional colonoscopy has emerged as an option for many patients – called virtual colonoscopy. Matthew Barish, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Division Co-Chief, Abdominal Imaging, and Director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Stony Brook Medicine, talks about the benefits and risks of this high-tech screening device and how it could be life-saving.
Virtual colonoscopy (also known as CT colonoscopy or CTC) is a safe, highly accurate minimally invasive CT imaging examination of the entire colon and rectum. Stony Brook was one of the original pioneers in virtual colonoscopy. The software used to read virtual colonoscopy in the landmark research paper published in 2003 by New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) was invented at Stony Brook and continues to be used today. In fact, Dr. Barish was one of the contributors to this pioneering technology.
“It is a well-tolerated exam that takes about 10 minutes to complete,” says Dr. Barish. “The goal is the same as traditional colonoscopy— to identify polyps and cancers in the colon.” Polyps have been shown to be the precursor of most colon cancers, and the goal of virtual colonoscopy is to find these potentially dangerous polyps before they become actual cancers.
Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the US. And with regular screenings, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment options are most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before …