A new tool is available to detect colorectal cancer, one of the nation’s deadliest cancers. Computed tomographic colongraphy (CTC), also known as “virtual” colonoscopy, is a minimally invasive alternative to the standard colonoscopy used to screen and diagnose colorectal cancer. With CTC, three-dimensional images of the colon and rectum are produced with the help of X-ray technology.
According to the Journal of the American College of Radiology, CTC is catching on, with a 5 percent increase in the number of hospitals offering the procedure from 2005 to 2008. Unlike standard colonoscopies, CTC does not require sedation and patients can resume normal daily activities immediately afterward. Some hospitals prefer CTC to screen frail or elderly patients and because it cuts down on the longer wait for the standard procedure. Unfortunately, Medicare does not yet pay for CTC, which can cost $1,100.