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Colon Screening

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General Information About Colon Screening

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., however less than half the population is screened for colon cancer. Our colon screening uses colonography, a newer, more comfortable alternative to traditional colonoscopy that uses sophisticated low radiation CT scans to provide a detailed study of the colon for early detection of cancer and polyps. No sedation is required, there is minimal patient discomfort, and the procedure time is short.

It is a leading factor in reducing the incidence of colon cancer for persons over the age of 50. Discuss your need for a CT Colon Cancer Screening with your primary care physician or contact us at: 651.632.5700.

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Questions About Colon Screening


Question: How Do I Schedule a CT Colonography Exam?

Answer: These exams are elective procedures and can be scheduled directly with St. Paul Radiology by calling 651.632.5700. St. Paul Radiology encourages patients to discuss the risks and benefits of these elective procedures with their primary care physician. At your request, a copy of the medical report can be sent to your primary care provider.


Question: Who Should Consider a Preventative Screening Evaluation?

Answer: St. Paul Radiology’s clients are people who are interested in their preventative and wellness. They recognize the value of early detection in the prevention and the treatment of disease. They realize that true patient care begins with themselves, the patient.


Question: Are These Procedures the Same as the “Body Scan Vans” Seen in Other Parts of the Country?

Answer: No. St. Paul Radiology’s studies are performed in a licensed, state-of-the-art permanent facility. At the conclusion of the study, you will have a face to face consultation with a Board Certified Radiologist who will review your examination and the results with you.


Question: Who Will Interpret My Examination?

Answer: All studies are interpreted by Board Certified Radiologists (St. Paul Radiology) with expertise in both body imaging and preventative imaging. St. Paul Radiology takes a multi-disciplinary approach to provide reassurance that appropriate recommendations are made at the conclusion of the exam. These physicians participate in the multi-disciplinary diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease, lung disease, and oncologic disorders. Additionally, with your approval, St. Paul Radiology will provide reports and images to your primary care physician.


Question: What is the Mission of St. Paul Radiology’s Preventative Screening Program?

Answer: The program is designed to provide superior CT screening at state-of-the-art imaging centers for the early detection of coronary artery disease, lung cancer and colon cancer, while remaining committed to educating the consumer about the issues of quality, expertise and competence in the newly emerging field of preventative imaging. At the Preventative Screening Program, preventative imaging is performed in a controlled setting with direct physician supervision. Furthermore, the physicians of this practice are all Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology. They are respected, active members of the Twin Cities medical community and they are on the medical staff of many Twin Cities area hospitals.


Question: What are the Risk Factors for Colon Cancer?

Answer:
  • Age
  • Family History
  • Other Colon Diseases
  • Familial Polyposis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Previous Colorectal Cancer

Question: What is the CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: In general, a screening exam is a study used to detect a disease process before signs or symptoms are present. For example, mammography detects early breast cancer. A CT Colonography exam is a sophisticated low radiation exam utilizing a multi-detector CT scanner to look for colon cancer and colon polyps. Special protocols are used to enhance the screening examination. A small tube is placed into the rectum through which carbon dioxide is used for insufflation. This distends the colon, allowing St. Paul Radiology physicians to obtain detailed CT images. No sedation is required, there is minimal patient discomfort, and the procedure time is short.


Question: What Does the CT Colonography Examination Tell My Physician and Me?

Answer: This procedure provides detailed information on your colon health, including the detection of significant colon polyps and colon cancers.


Question: What Are the Benefits of a CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. However, less than half of the population is currently screened for colon cancer. Although the potential risk is clear, many people are reluctant to undergo screening because of the perceived discomfort associated with traditional screening exams. CT colonography offers patients an efficacious alternative to colonoscopy for screening.


Question: Who Should Have a CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: The CT colonography exam is not for everyone. In general it is most appropriate for men and women over 50. It is not for people with known colon cancer, colon cancer symptoms, or previously removed colon polyps. After scheduling this exam a St. Paul Radiology nurse will contact you to ensure the procedure is appropriate for you.


Question: How Do I Prepare for the CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: Patients will be provided a dietary prep kit with instructions prior to the exam. The kit includes a recommended menu to be followed for two days before the exam. The St. Paul Radiology nurse will review these instructions with you to ensure adequate preparation. As with colonoscopy, adequate dietary preparation impacts exam quality. This diet, combined with the colon cleansing medicines provided in the kit, will remove stool from your colon. This allows St. Paul Radiology physicians to detect any polyps or masses that may be in the colon. If stool remains in the colon, it could hide a polyp or could be confused with a polyp.


Question: Is the CT Colonography Examination Safe?

Answer: Yes. Radiation exposure is minimal. No needles, injections, or sedations are used.


Question: Is the CT Colonography Examination Painful?

Answer: No. Most patients feel minimal discomfort during the exam. Some patients report cramping during colon insufflation; however, this is short-lived.


Question: How Do I Receive Results From the CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: After your screening, one of the St. Paul Radiology Board Certified Radiologists will interpret your screening, comprised of several hundred images. You will then be telephoned within 72 hours by either the Preventative Screening nurse or attending radiologist with your exam results. Your results and medical report will also be shared with your primary care physician, with your approval.


Question: How Long Does the CT Colonography Examination Last?

Answer: Although the screening takes less than ten minutes, you should allow one hour for the entire procedure. You do not need a driver to accompany you.


Question: Is the CT Colonography Examination Covered by Insurance?

Answer: No. Currently the CT Colonography exam is considered preventative for asymptomatic patients. As such, it is not currently covered by insurance. Often, people are reimbursed through flexible medical spending accounts. If a polyp is found in your CT Colonography exam, colonoscopy is recommended. This should be covered by insurance.


Question: Do I Need a Physician's Referral for the CT Colonography Examination?

Answer: No. Although a referral is not required, St. Paul Radiology strongly encourages patients to work closely with their primary care physician to formulate a complete preventative care plan.


Question: I've Undergone the CT Colonography Procedure, Now What?

Answer: When you receive your results, effective treatment options and next step recommendations will be discussed, based upon the results of your exam.

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