Your Radiologist Explains Colorectal Cancer Screening
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Hi, I’m Elliot Fishman, a radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In this short video I’d like to share with you some information about colorectal cancer screening to you.
Colorectal cancer or colon cancer forms in the colon and rectum. It claims nearly 50,000 lives each year in the United States. Yet most colon cancers are treatable if detected early. It’s recommended that all men and women start screening at age 50 – or earlier if you’re at higher risk.
There are several diagnostic imaging tests commonly used in colon cancer screenings. Let me describe the three most common to you.
Computed tomography colonography (also called virtual colonoscopy) uses low-dose CT or CAT scanning to produce pictures of the colon and the rectum. During this exam, a small tube is inserted a short distance into the rectum to allow for inflation of the colon with air. CT images are then taken to detect any polyps or any other abnormalities that might be present.
The second exam is a double-contrast barium enema which is an x-ray of the entire colon and rectum in which a radiologist inserts a barium solution and air into the colon to produce images of the colon.
The third study is colonoscopy. Colonoscopy examines the rectum and entire colon using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope. If polyps are detected, the physician may remove them along with tissue samples.
Talk to your doctor about which of these test is right for you.
You can find more details on CT colonography and other imaging studies of the colon on RadiologyInfo.org.