Narrator: This is Science Today. Virtual colonoscopy uses CAT scan technology to study the colon. One of the advantages of this radiology technique over the traditional methods is that it's less invasive. Judy Yee, a vice-chair of radiology at the University of California , San Francisco , explains that there's no need to insert a scope throughout the colon.
Yee: So it's a safer exam in that you don't have the risk of puncturing a hole in the colon or of infection or of bleeding.
Narrator: The colonoscopy is still considered the gold standard test due to its high sensitivity for finding cancer and precursor lesions, or polyps.
Yee: However, in spite of colonoscopy having been around for many, many years, if you look at the percentage of patients over the age of fifty who come in for colon cancer screening, it's less than thirty percent. So, the majority of patients who should come in for colon cancer screening are not coming in and I think that virtual colonoscopy definitely offers an alternative.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.