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Research Validates Effectiveness of X-Rays for Initial Colon Cancer Screening

New IEC Standard Improves Accuracy of X-Rays through Educational Material Guidelines

New York, Sep 19, 2008

With over 100,000 cases of colon cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, the American Cancer Society strongly advises that all adults over 50 get screened for the disease. The most common form of screening is a colonoscopy, an invasive procedure that requires sedation and a missed day of work, but recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that colon X-rays may be just as effective in detecting the cancer.

Colon x-rays have proven to be valuable in ruling out cancer, making the number of patients who have to submit to a colonoscopy much smaller. As a cheaper and less intrusive option, these “virtual colonoscopies” could increase the number of adults who choose to get screened for colon cancer.

When performing the screening, x-ray technicians rely on accurate and detailed information on how to use the equipment properly in order to avoid inaccurate results that could have tragic consequences.

A newly released standard from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) addresses the need for clear and accurate educational materials for medical equipment like the x-ray machines used for colon cancer screening. IEC/TR 61258 Ed. 2.0 en:2008, Guidelines for the development and use of medical electrical equipment educational materials is a technical report that outlines a process for developing materials for educating and training operators of medical electrical equipment or a medical electrical system. The report may be used by standards organizations, manufacturers, health care facility managers, clinical engineers, physician and nurse educators, and others involved directly or indirectly in education and training of operators.

IEC/TR 61258 was developed by IEC Subcommittee (SC) 62A, Common Aspects of Electrical Equipment Used in Medical Practice. The U.S. holds the secretariat for this subcommittee, which has been delegated to Medtronic, Inc. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) – a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – was recently selected to serve as assistant secretary for SC 62A. And the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) acts as the United States National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. TAG Administrator, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.

For more information on preventing, screening, and treating colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website.

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