Bowel cancer affects over 34000 people in the UK each year and is the second commonest cause of cancer related death. However bowel cancer can be cured if detected at an early stage and even prevented if its precursor, the colonic polyp can be identified and subsequently removed.
Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) utilises the latest CT body scanner technology for detecting and staging colonic polyps and bowel cancer. VC offers a relatively non-invasive, patient friendly investigation whereby, a small thin flexible catheter is inserted into the bottom and carbon dioxide is used to distend the bowel. The patient then undergoes a CT scan, lasting only a few seconds. There is no requirement for sedation or pain killers. Sometimes, if an abnormality is found, the patient may be offered a 'same-day' procedure for endoscopic removal or biopsy, a 'one-stop' service highlighting the strong links between the St. Mark's Intestinal imaging Centre and The Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy.