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Toshiba sponsors new Virtual Colonoscopy course

Toshiba America Medical Systems : 22 June, 2007  (New Product)
Virtual Colonoscopy medical education course is to be sponsored by Toshiba America Medical Systems.
The course will take place in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education.

Since 2004, courses in Virtual Colonoscopy have been offered at Harvard Medical School.

Harvard is now expanding the programme by offering this course at the Toshiba Education Center in Irvine, California, USA, with open enrollment to physicians worldwide.

Some patients prefer Virtual Colonoscopy as a colonoscopy method due to its minimally invasive nature, according to Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

The technique is a non-invasive colonoscopy screening method in which multiple diagnostic X-ray images of the colorectal region are taken by a Computed tomography (CT) scanner.

The multiple CT images are used to create a picture of the overall colorectal structure, which is studied for signs of disease by physicians.

'CT Virtual Colonoscopy is an effective, non-invasive alternative to conventional optical colonoscopy for high risk patients', explained Joseph Cooper, senior manager, CT Business Unit at Toshiba.

'Working with Harvard on this training programme, we hope to encourage physicians to explore Virtual Colonoscopy as a method to improve patient care'.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 52,000 people have died this year alone from colorectal cancer - cancers found in the colon or rectum.
In addition, nearly 154,000 new cases of colorectal cancer have already been diagnosed in 2007.

'Despite the number of lives claimed by colorectal cancer each year, these cancers can be treated if diagnosed early', explained Dr Barish, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School and Director of the Virtual Colonoscopy course.

'However, patient compliance is a serious issue, because many patients forego having an optical colonoscopy until it is too late'.

'We hope our course will empower physicians to utilise Virtual Colonoscopy, a less invasive, but still effective screening method that is preferred by patients'.

'This screening technique may help save lives through early detection and increased compliance'.

Like the traditional optical colonoscopy, a Virtual Colonoscopy still requires similar preparation by the patient but is completed in approximately 10 minutes.
Additionally, this screening process can capture images of the entire colorectal structure, not only the colon as in traditional optical colonoscopy.

Other advantages of Virtual Colonoscopy include:

- The ability to view structures outside of the colon wall, such as the kidneys, liver and aorta, affording clinicians the potential to identify abnormalities and other cancers that can be missed during optical colonoscopy.

- No patient sedation, allowing patients to resume their daily lives after the procedure.

Toshiba plans to host the course quarterly with the first Virtual Colonoscopy course taking place from 20 to 21 August 2007.
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