Virtual Colonoscopy for Detecting Colon Cancer

The New England Journal of Medicine has just published the results of a recent study of over 3000 patients involving the comparison of CT scanning and standard colonoscopy techniques in detecting colon polyps or cancers. The results of the study demonstrated that CT was as effective as standard colonoscopy in detecting these cancers. In those cases where cancers or polyps were detected by CT, a standard colonoscopy can be offered to remove the growth. This occurred in only about 8% of the patients undergoing CT.

The advantage of undergoing CT scanning to detect cancer is that risk of perforation of the colon is virtually eliminated. Unfortunately, standard colonoscopy, which involves insertion of a scope into the bowel, carries with it a risk of bowel perforation with potentially life-threatening consequences. Our firm over the last several years has handled multiple malpractice cases involving complications of bowel perforations during routine colonoscopies. Insurance companies need to understand that these CT procedures are no longer “experimental” and need to be fully covered by insurance for patient safety.

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