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News GPS-Style Technology Hones in on Cancer and More

GPS-Style Technology Hones in on Cancer and More

Breakthrough technology at St. Mary's Hospital is helping doctors get an even more detailed look inside the body than before, helping find hard-to-reach lung tumors and performing more comfortable colonoscopies.

(March 2014) Centralia, IL - Breakthrough technology at St. Mary’s Hospital is helping doctors get an even more detailed look inside the body than before, helping find hard-to-reach lung tumors and performing more comfortable colonoscopies.

Gastroenterologist Stephen Ang. M.D., and pulmonologist Aziz Rahman, M.D., are excited about the many uses for the new navigational equipment.  This equipment is not only used for colonoscopies but also for bronchoscopies; of course completely different scopes are used.   This advanced equipment was made possible locally through the financial support of St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation.

Lung Cancer Found Early

The equipment has been especially valuable for bronchoscopy, a procedure enabling a physician to examine the major air passages of the lungs through a thin lighted tube. Traditional bronchoscopy cannot reliably reach the distant regions of the lungs. Often, more invasive surgical procedures are needed to make a diagnosis. This may increase the risk of complications for some patients.
According to Dr. Aziz Rahman, the navigational equipment works similar to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, allowing doctors to find and reach tumors in the periphery of the lungs.  In this part of the lungs, smaller bronchi are not wide enough to permit passage of a normal bronchoscope. With navigational bronchoscopy, Dr. Aziz can find lung tumors, take biopsies and administer treatment.
“This equipment gives us the ability to detect lung cancer and lung disease earlier, even before symptoms are evident, enhancing treatment options for patients,” says Dr. Aziz. Earlier diagnosis of lung cancer improves cure and survival rates.

Better Images in Colonoscopy and Endoscopy

Not only does Dr. Ang see more clearly and have added maneuverability but now a colonoscopy is more comfortable. Carbon dioxide is used instead of air; our bodies naturally absorb carbon dioxide so this means there is minimal embarrassing and uncomfortable gas after the procedure.

Dr. Ang can see the interior of the body more clearly than ever before. Refined technology delivers exceptional control of the endoscope for close-up views of the mucosa while advanced imaging features and renowned optics deliver remarkable clarity in every detail.
Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon and rectum, is being diagnosed with more and more frequency.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age.  More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older.  Both men and women are at risk of being diagnosed with this disease, but statistics show that with early screening, the cancer can be treated and cured in many cases.  Since March is Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month, St. Mary’s Hospital encourages readers to discuss risks with their primary care physician and to learn more by visiting at the Health Info pages. 

St. Mary’s Hospital along with Drs. Rahman and Ang are grateful to St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation for bringing this breakthrough technology to the community. 

Photo shows equipment, those in front of the equipment from left to right:  Scott Niermann, St. Mary's Hospital Foundation Director; Monica Brown; Dr. Stephen Ang; Mindy Boxx; Dr. Aziz Rahman; Hazel Sprehe; Stephanie Purcell; behind cart:  Virginia Telford, VP Patient Care & Foundation Trustee; Ron Johnson, Foundation Board Chair; Jennifer