Tuesday, November 15, 2022 Improving Colon Cancer Detection Through Artificial Intelligence

San Juan Regional Medical Center now has improved capabilities to screen for colon cancer thanks to new artificial intelligence technology. The hospital was awarded three GI Genius™intelligent endoscopy modules through a Health Equity Assistance Grant provided by Medtronic and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), with support from Amazon Web Services. Our facility was chosen to receive three of the 50 units donated to endoscopy centers across the country to increase early colorectal cancer detection and diagnosis in underserved communities.

Nearly one in 20 adults will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime. Certain types of colorectal cancer, when caught early, can have a five year survival rate of up to 91 percent; however, it remains the third most common and third deadliest cancer among adults in the United States

“Addressing gaps in colorectal cancer screening is complex. There are disparities in screenings among different groups, including adults in rural communities,” said Douglas K. Rex, M.D., MASGE, president, ASGE. “Colonoscopy is critical in preventing colorectal cancer.”

The GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module provides enhanced visualization to identify polyps in real time during colonoscopy, which helps diagnose and prevent colorectal cancer. In fact, this technology increases detection rates by up to 14 percent.

“It’s like a second pair of eyes that can detect even the unseen polyps,” said Dr. Jason Glass, Gastroenterologist with San Juan Health Partners Gastroenterology. “This technology is great for our community. When we can detect polyps we can remove them, which prevents colon cancer and reduces the risk of cancer developing after a colonoscopy screening.”

The latest recommendations by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy suggest screening average-risk individuals for colon cancer beginning at age 45. The previous recommendation was age 50. While the incidence of colorectal cancer has been declining for older adults, it is rising for those under 50, which prompted the change. People with a family history of colon cancer should start screening at age 40, or 10 years younger than the age of their family member was when diagnosed (whichever comes first).

For more information about colonoscopy, visit our health library and talk to your primary care provider.  

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