In the next 12 months, 50,000 people will die from colorectal cancer. The worst part is that most of these deaths could have been prevented if the cancer was detected sooner.
Now, one doctor says a new and improved camera will change how colonoscopies are done for all of us, and give doctors a better view to detect cancer before it becomes a killer.
Time on the driving range, is time well spent for John Reed and his son Zach. They're learning the game together.
Zachery Reed, Johns son, explains how the golf game usually ends up, "He always hits in the woods."
He may not be a straight shooter on the golf course, but when it comes to his health, John doesn't fool around. John's talking about colon cancer, and that's why the 51 year old recently had his first colonoscopy. John is one of the first patients to use a new FDA approved device that gives doctors another view to the traditional colonoscopy. It's called third eye retroscope. A camera is snaked through five feet of your colon to detect polyps that could be an early sign of cancer.
George Triadafilopoulos, MD, GASTROENTEROLOGIST, Stanford School Of Medicine, explains what they are looking for, "It's almost like a mushroom that grows inside the colon. Sometimes these small polyps grow behind the fold, and they're not visualized at the time of the examination."
The third eye fits through the traditional colonoscopy catheter. Instead of just a forward facing camera, another tip comes through the catheter, revealing a backward facing camera with an LED light.
Dr. Triadafiloppulos, MD, explains how bright the light is, "It's almost like having a rearview mirror in your car."
On the left is the view from a traditional colonoscopy, one the right, from the third eye.
If a polyp is found, it can be removed immediately during the procedure. A new study shows the device detects 41 percent more precancerous polyps, for people who are at high risk, and 23 percent more in people not at risk.
As for John, he was polyp free, and can now concentrate on his game. Physicians recommend screening for colon cancer beginning at age 50.
How often you do so after that depends on your family history and cancer risk.