Narrator: This is Science Today. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. There are several screening options available – colonoscopy being the gold standard test, but over the years, virtual colonoscopy – a less invasive procedure – has gained in popularity.
Ladabaum: Virtual colonoscopy has been in development for the last several years. Most recently, there have been some technical advances that have suggested that this test may actually be quite good at detecting colorectal cancers and polyps, but the published data have been conflicting.
Narrator: Dr. Uri Ladabaum of the University of California, San Francisco recently conducted a national study using data from conflicting studies of the two colonoscopy procedures and concluded that virtual colonoscopy is not ready for widespread use.
Ladabaum: The initial studies that were very promising tended to be in patients who had a high rate of polyps and cancer and often, tests look better when you have a population that is enriched with pathology. So what many of us were waiting for were studies in a general population at average risk.
For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.