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New Imaging Devices for Colon Cancer Screening

Several new technologies are being developed to make colon cancer screening more appealing to patients, as well as doctors. Traditional colon cancer screening such as colonoscopy has been limited by an uncomfortable and incomplete preparation before the test leading to missed lesions by the physician and the need for sedation which forces the patient to miss a day of work (not to mention the person designated to take the patient to and from the test).

Exciting new developments have been recently announced and are in the clinical trial phase of study. These new products aim to reduce the previous limitations of colon cancer screening. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States with over 50 thousand deaths each year.

The PillCam Colon is a small capsule which radio-transmits thousands of images of the colon as it passes through. The physician then reviews these pictures without the patient having to retrieve the capsule. The advantage of this device is that the patient could theoretically undergo this test while at work. Of course, if a polyp is found, a colonoscopy would have to be performed to remove it.

The NeoGuide Systems endoscope is a computer assisted colonoscopy in which a computer algorithm guides the scope reducing any uncomfortable manual pressure that would be applied by human hands. A preparation solution and sedation must be used but lesions can be removed on the spot.

The Aer-O-Scope was recently tested successfully in a small group of healthy volunteers. This device is a self-propelling, self-navigating apparatus which allows imaging of the colon independent of the gastroenterologist’s skill.

These devices, and others such as virtual colonoscopy, will continue to change the way physicians and their patients approach screening for colon cancer. For now, these new tests are only in the experimental stage. It is still important to get screened if you are over the age of 50 or have other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening and your various options to do so.


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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.