Hospital invests in new scopes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2005

Katie Couric preaches about it once a year because her husband died from colon cancer.

Others have joined her cause and the indignity some might feel at having the test is replaced by the fact it could save their lives.

Many often will put it off because they don’t like the idea of a long flexible tube being pushed into their lower backside or through their mouth.

But , it is important to either have a colonoscopy or gastroscopy to make sure you don’t have cancer of the colon or rectum or in the esophagus.

It can also help your doctor detect polyps that could grow and develop into cancer.

Recently, L. V. Stabler Memorial Hospital updated its scoping equipment with the purchase of a new Olympus GI System.

The system gives the hospital three new state of the art colonscopes, two gastroscopes and one bronchoscope.

According to Eddie Dunn, surgical supervisor at the hospital, &uot;Our older system was a Pentax and it was your basic system,&uot; he said.

He called the Olympus the Cadillac of the scoping systems and that everything is completely digital. &uot;With this system, everything is seen in higher resolution,&uot; he said.

&uot;The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture.&uot;

Dunn said they perform between 50 to 60 scope procedures a month.

It’s not something you can walk in and ask for.

You need to see your family doctor for an examination and he can determine if you need a GI procedure. Cancer can develop in your stomach, lungs, rectum, and esophagus and unless checked, you may be unaware of it until after it has spread.

Then treatment is extremely difficult.

The gastroscope takes about 15 minutes on average, while the colonscope can take 20 to 30 minutes.

However, if polyps are found, it can take a little longer.

&uot;These scopes allow the doctor, if he or she finds a polyp, to quickly use the snare and remove it,&uot; Dunn said.

&uot;We can then send these to the pathologist for evaluation of cancer cells.&uot;

He said sometimes patients who have a CT scan might have a mass show up during that test.

The various scopes allow a closer look without invasive surgery.

&uot;It has also been very effective for people who suffer from bleeding ulcers,&uot; Dunn said.

&uot;With a gastric ulcer, we are able to go in and cauterize the vessel and it saves a person from having to have major surgery.&uot;

During the procedure they monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.

CRNA’s J. P. Forrest and Amelia Whiddon make sure the patients remain sedated, comfortable and out of danger.

The patient usually lies on their side with their knees bent and pulled up for the colonoscopy.

Dunn said some type of surgical lube is used to ease the passage of the scope.

During the procedure the physician uses the scope to insufflate air into the intestines for visualization of the intestinal wall.

Also, Dunn said tissue is removed for lab analysis as necessary.

Dr. Norman F McGowin, noted local surgeon, said the equipment is an excellent investment for the hospital and it is great for use with patients.

He said it is important for people to be screened for various cancers and if they have some symptoms, it is useful rather than having to do some major invasive surgery.

&uot;It a very high tech design with high resolution photos that allows the doctor to visualize what is in a patient and to be used to remove polyps,&uot; he said.

&uot;We find polyps in most people we check.

It important to be checked and for anyone who has any signs of bleeding in their stool, substantial weight loss and abdominal pain.

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms you should see your family physician immediately.&uot;

Dunn also pointed out that L. V. Stabler fully sterilizes the scopes after each use, where some hospitals will only use disinfectant.

&uot;You can be sure that if we are using it on you, it has been sterilized,&uot; he said.

Connie Nicholas, Assistant CEO for the hospital said the new scopes are a part of a continued commitment to providing the best medical service to our community.

&uot;Colon cancer is treatable if caught in time,&uot; she said.

Last year, the hospital spent $1.2 million on a new

MRI system and Nicholas said the hospital’s parent company knows the importance of having top-notch equipment.

&uot;This new scope is a $177,000 investment because we believe our patients need this service here,&uot; she said.

&uot;We continually want to update all of our equipment and our parent company believes in giving back to the community with state of the art equipment.&uot;

According to the American Cancer Society, this year, more than 145,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) and more than 56,000 will die of the disease. It is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. But it is also the most preventable.

The cancer society is working to raise awareness and encourage people to go for a colon screening starting at age 50. Those older than 50 who have never been screened should go in for a check-up right away.

Colon cancer usually forms in polyps, growths in the lining of the colon and rectum. The bigger the polyp, the greater the risk of cancer. But polyps grow slowly, which is why colon cancer is so preventable. If polyps are caught by screening tests before they’ve turned cancerous, doctors can remove them immediately.

Some people don’t feel the need to be tested because they think colon cancer has to run in the family. Not true. The majority of cases occur in people whose only risk factor is age. Ninety percent of colon cancer cases happen in people older than 50.

Many women think colon cancer is a man’s disease. But, they’re wrong. Women equally die from colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer kills more women than ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers combined