Patients Prefer Colonoscopy to Other Colon Cancer Procedures

Two studies presented at the annual Digestive Disease week, from May 19 to 22, in San Diego revealed that colonoscopy is preferred over computed tomography colonography (CTC) as a colon cancer screening test. According to these studies, those who undergo colonoscopy can generally tolerate colonoscopy preparation, and it is this thorough preparation process that makes polyp detection clearer for colonoscopy doctors.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada headed by Dr. George Ou, investigated 90 people who were of an average age of 55.  The research subjects were made to undergo both CTC and colonoscopy.  A significant number of the subjects did not feel pain or discomfort and had less anxiety while undergoing colonoscopy.  The overall finding is that colonoscopy was more effective and well accepted by 30% of the test subjects. Only 4% considered CTC as the better method for colon cancer screening.  In addition, 70% said that they would prefer colonoscopy as a repeat screening procedure than CTC.

Computed tomography colonography is also referred to as virtual colonoscopy (VC) or CT colonography. This colon cancer screening method uses computed tomography or CAT scan and computers to produce a 3D image of the colon. The area covered would be from the lowest portion of the intestine which is the rectum all the way to the small intestine.  An image is then sent to a monitor so that a doctor can diagnose if there is a presence of polyps, tumors, and other abnormalities. Preparation for the procedure involves the taking of laxatives to clear the colon from stool.

Colonoscopy, on the other hand, involves almost the same preparation as in a CT procedure. A long, flexible tube with a miniature camera and cutting tools is inserted through the rectum. An image of the colon is sent to a monitor so the doctor can diagnose for irregularities. If there are polyps or tumors found, a piece of tissue is cut and then examined if cancerous. The abnormality can be taken out also during the colonoscopy process.

Edward W. Holt, M.D., from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and associates also made a study of 430 people with mean age of 60.4 years. They studied the connection between patient  insights of the preparation phase of colonoscopy and its quality against result of the screening test. The team found out that there is quite a significance between the quality of preparation and the how clear the bowels were during the procedure. Clarity was directly proportional to how well the bowels were cleared of stool. Polyps and other abnormalities were easily seen if preparation was done completely.

The subjects which reported that they had a better experience with the preparation for colonoscopy had greater chances of having polyps and adenomas detected.  This shows that by having improvements for colonoscopy preparation can enhance chances of people getting the screening and yielding better results out of the colon cancer screening test. This was part of Dr. Holt and his associates’ conclusions.