CT colonography: What to know about virtual colonoscopy Mark Cuban says saves time, money


If you are between the ages of 45 and 85, you must have a routine screening for colorectal cancer rather, on American Cancer Society (ACS). But a colonoscopy– how the doctor uses a special camera to look inside the colon and rectum looking for abnormal growths called polyps-it’s not the only way you can monitor your gut health.

You can choose non-invasive display methods: computed tomography (CT) colonography and/or stool-based test. The billionaire entrepreneur is Shark Tank Investor Mark Cuban they tell us Chance they enjoy the low cost and simplicity of the first, also called about a colonoscopy. In short, it is an X-ray test that does not require anesthesia or surgery.

“I like getting CT scans because even though they’re cheap, the cost is much lower than the cost of a regular colonoscopy,” Cuban says via email, “allowing me to get one every few years and traditional ones every seven.”

Cuban says the cost of his most recent colonoscopy was less than $600. The cost of the policy may vary by location. For example, in New York City’s 10038 ZIP code Chance this, a typical colonoscopy with a range of $496–$2,613 and a total cost of $778, according to Healthcare Bluebook. A traditional colonoscopy ranges from $997–$10,541 with an average cost of $2,712.

Because it is US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends skin cancer screening starting at age 45 for people who are at risk of developing the disease, state law requires Medicare and private health insurers that to pay money. This means that patients do not have to pay copays or deductibles. However, the ACS defines the definition of “screening” versus “diagnostic” tests may vary by insurer, and not all policies cover all types of colorectal cancer.

In addition, people at high risk for colon cancer may need earlier and more frequent screening. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you and your insurance coverage.

Dr. Arthur Winergastrointestinal oncologist at Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax, Virginia, and Dr. Derek Ebnerspecialist in gastroenterology and hepatology neoplasia to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, describe your colorectal cancer screening options below.

What is a virtual colonoscopy?

While a traditional colonoscopy involves inserting a camera called a colonoscope through your colon and rectum, the actual procedure involves X-rays and a computer that creates 3D images of these organs. No attempt, however, can be made with a footstool in the way.

“Preliminary planning is the same,” says Winer Chance. “You still need to cleanse the colon, so you don’t end up taking too many laxatives and running to the bathroom.”

You should also take a different medicine the night before. Despite this, a colonoscopy only takes 10 to 15 minutes – the traditional procedure takes an hour – and because you will not rest or sleep, you can drive yourself home or go back to work and resume normal activities.

Although CT colonography itself is not definitive, your radiologist will often insert a catheter into your rectum to infuse your colon with air or carbon dioxide.

Ebner says: Chance. “The radiologists have to use that gas, to open up the colon to see with CT images, there are polyps or abnormalities in the colon.”

Traditional colonoscopy is safe, with little risk of the colonoscope puncturing your organs or causing infection, Winer says; virtual colonoscopy also reduces that risk. The virtual option comes with low dose of radiation similar to other medical imaging.

CT colonography may be suitable for people who hate invasive colonoscopy or who have problems with pain medication. This method “is accurate for detecting skin cancer and adenoma (noncancerous tumors),” according to the USPSTF, and should be performed more frequently: every five years instead of 10. Traditional colonoscopy remains an additional option; CT colonography cannot remove polyps and can miss those smaller than 10 millimeters.

“The advantage of (traditional) colonoscopy is that they both diagnose the problem and can treat it at the same time,” says Winer, referring to polyp removal. “[Doctors] Draw a lasso around them and trap them. And when they find a tumor, they measure it and mark it with ink to show other doctors where it is in the intestines.”

Sometimes, during a traditional colonoscopy the size does not reach the beginning of the large intestine, says Ebner. If this happens, your doctor may order a colonoscopy to complete the evaluation.

Medicare does not cover CT colonography.

Some hope that colonoscopies will lead to more cancer screening
In this undated photo, a woman looks at an iPad showing an image from her colonoscopy, also called CT colonography.

Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

What is colorectal cancer screening?

For some people, a step stool test may be helpful.

“Poop tests will check your stool for blood, or there are DNA tests where special labs look for changes in the DNA of the cells in your colon,” says Winer. Chance. “When poop passes through your intestines, it can pick up cells from dangerous or cancerous areas.”

ACS recommends the following:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): Available over the counter, this type of test looks for blood that may be hidden in the stool from your lower intestines.
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT): A device can be prescribed by your doctor and uses a drug to detect hidden blood in your stool. This test restricts your diet; for example, you are encouraged to avoid red meat for at least three days before the test.
  • A partial DNA test performed by fecal immunochemical test (MT-sDNA, sDNA-FIT, or FIT-DNA): CologuardThe only such test available in the US, it requires a prescription.

The downside to stool tests, Ebner says, is that they should be done more frequently: FIT and gFOBT annually, and Cologuard every three years. If the test shows abnormal results, it is necessary to perform a colonoscopy. On the other hand, a stool test does not involve bowel preparation.

Which colon cancer test is the best?

“The best tests are the ones that are done,” Ebner said Chance. “The most frightening thing is there about a third of the population who are eligible for colorectal cancer screening [and] it has not been seen yet.

“One of the benefits of having more options is it gives a person a chance to say, ‘Hey, you know, this is what works for me,’ especially when we get down to 45.”

Winer reiterates, “In my opinion, as an oncologist, anything is better than anything—any of these tests. The worst thing I think anyone can do is just hope they don’t get colon cancer. ”

For more information about colorectal cancer screening:

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