No-Prep Colon Scan?

 

If you've been avoiding getting a colonoscopy because you dread the bowel cleansing that's required the night before, you're far from alone. The authors of a study about a no-prep version of the test wrote: "The need to prepare for the study with a laxative is a barrier to many patients and the reason that many people do not complete recommended colon cancer screening."

That's risky, of course. Early detection is key, which is why the researchers looked at whether a virtual colonoscopy with no prior cleansing would get good results. They published their findings on May 15th in the online journal Annals of Internal Medicine. But don't get your hopes up too high. Michael E, Zalis, M.D. and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital found that although the laxative-free computed tomographic colography (CT) was almost as good as traditional colonoscopy at detecting larger lesions, it wasn't as capable of detecting smaller ones.

Even so, the "Summaries for Patients" section of the online journal explains that "the patients reported less discomfort or difficulty preparing for the laxative-free CT scan than for the colonoscopy that required a laxative. If other studies and settings confirm these findings, laxative-free CT scanning may be a reasonable alternative to standard colonoscopy as the initial step in screening for colon cancer in some patients."

For now, though, we at ThirdAge believe you should get over your squeamishness about the laxative and just "Take the Test"!

 

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