M45 — November 2012 — Color Blue Detects Colon Cancer
Intro: Sleuthing. Looking for clues. That's what doctors do when they search for signs of colon cancer. One of their main tools is the endoscope. They use it to look at the colon for signs of disease. The technology can detect cancer early when it's still curable. Now, doctors at Mayo Clinic are modifying the test to hopefully make it more effective for high risk patients.
This is the normal image when you do the procedure without chromoendoscopy.
In this procedure room, Dr. Navtej Buttar uses a colonoscope to look for signs of colon cancer or pre-malignant polyps.
I can see a small polyp right there.
The white light gives a pretty good view. But because this patient is at high risk for colon cancer, Dr. Buttar sprays a blue dye onto the colon wall. It's a technique called chromoendoscopy.
Chromoendoscopy is a twist on routine endoscopy
Dr. Mark Larson says the technology may make abnormalities and early colon cancers easier to detect.
If there's an abnormal surface, let's say there's a polyp or a cancer in a background of otherwise normal tissue, the staining or coloring will highlight that area.
It's sort of like looking for fingerprints on the surface of a car. You might not be able to see them with the naked eye or with a flashlight, but after dusting with powder, they re-appear.
Right in the center of the whole screen. That's the polyp. The polyp is a little more prominent because of the contrast created.
Dr. Larson says, the jury is still out on just how effective chromoendoscopy is. He says for routine exams, it may not be better at screening than normal endoscopy. But researchers are looking at the possibility that it may make a significant difference in patients who are considered to be at higher risk for developing colon cancer.
For Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.
Research shows that screening for colon cancer saves lives. Chromoendoscopy may be another way to help fight this disease.
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