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The ability of virtual colonoscopy to identify significant lesions outside the colon at an early, treatable stage "may increase the yield" of colorectal cancer screening, thus underscoring its potential as a major screening technique, study author Dr. Ganesh R. Veerappan said in a news release from the American College of Radiology/American Roentgen Ray Society.
The study included 2,277 people who underwent a virtual colonoscopy. Findings of cancers and lesions outside the colon were identified in 1,037 of the patients, including 787 insignificant and 240 significant findings.
Regarding findings outside the colon, a virtual colonoscopy "increased the odds of identifying high-risk lesions by 78%. [It] should be considered as an alternative to optical colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening or as a onetime procedure to identify significant treatable intracolonic and extracolonic lesions," Veerappan said.
The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.
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