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General Health Channel
Reported October 25, 2012

The Future of Colonoscopies

PALO ALTO, CA ( Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It’s a test that can save lives, but a lot of people are afraid of getting it done…or uncomfortable about how the screening is performed.

For most people a colonoscopy is not something they look forward to, but now, new improved colonoscopies can detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps before they turn deadly.

"It’s almost like a mushroom that grows inside the colon," Dr. George Triadafilopoulos, a Gastroenterologist affiliated with the Stanford School of Medicine told Ivanhoe.

This new LED camera fits through a regular colonoscopy catheter. Instead of just seeing what’s ahead, it can also find hard to see polyps, hiding in folds.

"It’s almost like having a rearview mirror in your car. As you drive forward, you can look through the mirror and see what’s behind you, so you don’t miss any spots," Dr. Triadafilopoulos explained.

Traditional colonoscopies miss 12 to 24 percent of polyps. This FDA approved camera improves detection rates by 25 percent.

Even less-invasive tests are now being studied. One doesn’t require laxative preparation or sedation. CT scans locate possible lesions in fecal matter. The scans are run through the lab where pre-cancerous problems can be spotted.

And some patients are now trying out an at-home option. The new DNA test locates abnormalities in the patients stool. In a recent study, the test detected 87 percent of colorectal cancers in curable stages.

"You can cut it out before it ever becomes cancerous and so nobody has to die from colon cancer," Dr. Steven Geller of the Centennial Medical Group in Elkridge, MD told Ivanhoe.

Many cases of colon cancer have no symptoms. But if you do have abdominal pain, blood in your stool, diarrhea or weight loss for no unknown reasons, call you doctor to schedule a colonoscopy.

Source: MGH, Brigham and Women’s hospital, North Shore Medical Center and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center at the University of California at San Francisco

www.exactsciences.com

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