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"Colon-cancer tests sought by too few, doctor says invasive procedure may be unpleasant but it works"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 11 Oct 2021

Category: Diagnostic Test

Rating: (4½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

A colonoscopy -- with a flexible, camera-equipped tube guided into the colon as a means of looking for potentially cancerous polyps -- is a procedure that few people anticipate giddily.

Why, many wonder, can the invasive test not be done instead with modern diagnostic tools such as CT scans that use X-ray beams to create detailed images of organs.

The answer, according to a new Canadian study, is that the fancy new technology simply does not work as well for detecting cancer, and it costs a lot more money.

Further, about one-third of those who undergo a CT scan would require a follow-up colonoscopy.

"CT colonography has shown some promise but it's simply not matching up to the old method," Steven Heitman, a gastroenterology fellow at the University of Calgary and co-author of the new research, said in an interview.

The original article can be found at:

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 7 of 8
Availability of Test Satisfactory
Novelty of Test Satisfactory
Diagnostic Options Satisfactory
Disease Mongering Satisfactory
Evidence Satisfactory
Quantification of Diagnostic Accuracy/Benefits Satisfactory
Costs of Testing Satisfactory
Harms of Testing Not Applicable
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Overall a good story about the differences in risks and benefits between colonoscopy and CT scanning as a means of screening for colon cancer. This is a balanced story that also presents guidelines for screening, the need for screening, as well as rates on screening for colectoral cancer

public forum

(07 Jan 2022) Jim Bishop writes,

"Today is the first time I viewed your site. Just had a colonoscopy done, (two polys, no cancer. Yes!) so the article on colonoscopy was timely. I agree with going with the low-tech and less expensive colonoscopy. I was conscious for the first part and was fascinated and probably very talkative!
I'm a medical consumer and only a practitioner in the sense that I'm the doer to and the done to.
I like what I've seen so far on this web site. Great long over due service. I like the fact that you post your criteria.
As for suggestions:
*Please spell out the acronyms.
*Indicate, unless I missed it, howlong an article will be kept on the site and where to go to find earlier and related stories.
*How about reviewing an article, when somebody writes it, about the best web sites to go to for medical information.
Keep up the good work. Thanks!"

Media Doctor response,

"Thank you for your comments. Yes, we'll endeavour to spell out acronyms when it isn't obvious. As for how long articles are kept on the site, we put web-links to the stories, when they are available, directing readers to the source of the story. Sometimes those stories stay posted on the media outlet's site for a limited period time. As for the 'best web sites' to go for medical information, if we find an article that covers these, we will take a look at the sites they mention and maybe put some as links on our webpage."

(29 Dec 2021) EDZ writes,

"EBT scan can detect any growths in the whole colon. If there are any then a followup would have to be done. This is much less invasive."

Media Doctor response,

"It would be useful for readers if we could post any links to references to support this assertion."

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