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A New Tool in Colorectal Cancer Detection

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It is the latest tool in fighting the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women and it is now being used in East Texas.  Recently Memorial Medical Center—Lufkin performed the first of several colonoscopies using the Third Eye Retroscope.  This powerful new technology gives surgeons an enhanced view of the colon during a colonoscopy.  As you may know, a colonoscopy is currently the most accurate test for detection of both polyps and colorectal cancer.

The first procedures were performed at Memorial Wednesday, March 2 as a 62 year old patient and a 50 year old patient underwent routine colonoscopies.  According to Surgeon Dr. Gregory DeArmond, the Third Eye Retroscope is designed to see areas of the colon that traditionally have been hard to view.  “We hope by using the Third Eye Retroscope we will identify polyps at an earlier stage,” said Dr. DeArmond.  “Hopefully, this weapon will reduce the chances and likelihood of a patient getting colon cancer.”  Colorectal cancer begins in either the colon or the rectum.  Most of these cancers start as a polyp, a growth of tissue that originates in the lining and grows into the center of the colon or rectum.  This tissue may or may not be cancer.  Removing a polyp early is the best defense against cancer.   

Unfortunately, during a traditional colonoscopy cancers can be missed when they occur in locations that are hidden from the view of the colonoscope, the device used during colonoscopies.  The colon has many folds in its inner lining and many sharp turns.  It is very difficult to see the areas behind these folds and turns with a colonoscope.  The Third Eye Retroscope provides an additional retrograde view of the colon that can illuminate blind spots and improve visualization in the colon. 

“We are excited to be able to exclusively provide this new technology for our community,” said Marilyn Phillips, Director of Surgical Services at Memorial Health System of East Texas.  “The Third Eye Retroscope will help our physicians find polyps and cancers that are almost impossible to see with just a colonoscope.”

A standard colonoscopy involves inserting a camera through the colon to the small intestine, then pulling it out.  The colon’s tight turns and folds prevent doctors from getting a comprehensive look, raising the risk of missed polyps.  The Retroscope is designed to enhance the surgeon’s view.  Inserted through a channel in the existing colonoscope, the device’s camera tip then flips into a tiny U-shape, providing the doctor a continuous retrograde or backward view of the colon at the same time the colonoscope provides the usual forward view.  This makes it possible for physicians to identify more polyps and lesions.

Other surgeons utilizing this new technology are Alan Bassin, M.D. and Darry Meyer, D.O.

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