Colonoscopy is better at detecting potentially dangerous colon polyps than computed tomography (CT) scanning is, a new study reveals. The conclusion differs from that of a recent report that found the two procedures to be equally effective (SN: 12/06/03, p. 355: No Scope: CT scan works as well as colonoscopy).
In colonoscopy, a physician inserts a flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera and snipping device into a patient's colon via the rectum. The doctor uses the device to spot and remove polyps—a procedure that wipes out practically all budding colon cancers. In a CT scan, a radiologist uses X-ray images taken from outside the abdomen to spot polyps. If the scan reveals polyps that should be removed, the patient then undergoes a colonoscopy.