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Expatriate Insurance News: CT colonography 'as effective as colonoscopy' in diagnosing bowel cancer

Expatriates older than 65 may wish to contact their international private medical insurance provider to receive a computed tomography (CT) colonography, following the results of a new study.

The research, which was published in Radiology, revealed no significant difference in the accuracy of this diagnostic tool between adults older than 65 and those aged between 50 and 65.

It was also found to have a similar efficacy as traditional optical colonoscopies.

Among younger patients, 3.7 per cent of those studied were found to have a cancerous legion or polyp larger than one centimetre, with this rising to 6.9 per cent of those in the older group.

Participants in the study were both male and female and deemed to have an average risk of suffering from colorectal cancer.

This condition is the third most common cancer among both genders and is also the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.

Around 80 per cent of all cases of the illness occur in people who are older than 60.

According to the American Cancer Society, a decline in the incidence of this ailment is due to screening tests such as this that enable dangerous polyps to be removed before they develop into tumours.

In traditional colonoscopies, a colonoscope is used to enable healthcare professionals to look inside the colon. Polyps can be removed through the use of a wire loop that passes through the tool.

However, when compared with a CT colonography, there is an elevated risk of the physician perforating the bowel, while patients must be sedated for the procedure to occur, which can pose a danger to older individuals.

"We found no statistical difference in the diagnostic performance between the two patient groups," lead researcher C Johnson, professor and chair of radiology at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, said.

He added: "We want patients to be screened. CT colonography is a preferred test for some patients and should be an option. Patients should talk to their doctor and choose the best option for them."

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