A new study has found a virtual colonoscopy to be almost as effective as a conventional invasive procedure in detecting colon cancer, USA Today reports. Virtual colonoscopies, using scans and computer imaging, discovered 90% of the cancers located by regular colonoscopies, in which a scope is physically passed through the colon, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Gastroenterologists tend to prefer conventional colonoscopies for a number of reasons. Polyps can be located and removed during a single procedure. Virtual exams locate only 65% of smaller polyps and expose the patient to substantial radiation, say critics.