New technology detecting more polyps
Doctors have a new tool to aid them in diagnosing and treating colorectal cancer. A technology that allows them to see things that once seemed almost invisible.
Screening tests remain the most important method to prevent colon cancer or detect the deadly disease early. An endoscopy, a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a patient’s digestive tract through the use of a traditional endoscope, provides experts close to 180 degrees of vision through the digestive tract with the use of a forward-viewing camera.
In June 2014, Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., became the first in Illinois to offer the Fuse® endoscope system, which gives doctors a 330-degree field of vision while performing colonoscopies.
“The colon is like an accordion with its bends and turns, polyps can be difficult to find,” says Dr. Lawrence Kosinski, gastroenterologist on staff at Sherman Hospital. “The Fuse increases what I can see and allows me to find things I may not have been able to otherwise.”
More than 90 percent of colon cancers are diagnosed in people 50 and older, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2014, an estimated 136,830 people were diagnosed with colon cancer. Of those, more than 50,000 are expected to die from the disease.
Current national guidelines recommend people 50 years old and older should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. For African-Americans, it is recommended that they start at age 45. Those with a family history of colon cancer should talk with their physician about when to get screened.
Dr. Kosinski has used the Fuse® endoscope system more than 300 times since June, which he says has significantly improved the accuracy of colonoscopy examinations.
“It is clear to me that we are seeing small polyps that we were not seeing before,” he says.
People at high risk for colon cancer typically don’t experience any symptoms, placing a high importance on getting screened. However, symptoms may include blood in or on stool, persistent stomach aches, pain and cramps and unexplained weight loss.
Besides getting screened, colon cancer risks may also be reduced by exercising regularly; maintaining a healthy body weight; limiting or cutting out alcohol and tobacco use; eating less foods with high saturated fats and eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
“Don’t be afraid of getting screened, be afraid of cancer,” says Dr. Kolinski.
Photo credit: EndoChoice
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