Some 5,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed alone in Austria every year and one out of two cases proves fatal.
Colon cancer differs from other types of cancer in one fundamental way: in 90% of all cases, polyps can exist for many years, at first benign and causing no pain. However, over a period of time these can develop into malignant tumours.
If you are over 50 or your doctor has advised you to get a colon check-up, you may opt for a virtual colonoscopy (endoscopy) by means of a CT scan. A colonoscopy is advisable in this age group and is effective in the prevention of colon cancer!
In the traditional colon scan a patient requires anaesthesia to allow the insertion of a lengthy endoscope. Though the virtual colonoscopy requires a day of laxation (also required with the traditional colonoscopy), anaesthesia and endoscopy are not required. The chance of injury doesn’t exist and anaesthesia is not required.
For otimal results the colon must be clean for the examination. The day before the examination, the patient will take a laxative preparation to clean the colon thoroughly. In most cases the patient is lightly sedated during an endoscpoic colonoscopy and a ca. 1.5 m long flexible tube (with attached camera) is passed through the anus. The virtual colonoscopy is performed without any sedation or “flexible tube”, but does not allow the removal of polyps/tumours and their biopsy (which is both possible with the endoscopic colonoscopy).