Colonoscopy Breakthrough May Save Lives

There is a new weapon in the war on colon cancer.  It is a scope called the "Third Eye," which allows doctors to peer behind natural folds in colon tissue where dangerous polyps can hide.

"Colonoscopy may be missing up 10 to 15 percent of the lesions," says Dr. Daniel DeMarco at Baylor University Medical Center

He described the traditional technique this way:  "Just like you're driving a car through a tunnel all the way to the end of the colon.  When you come back, it's just like backing out of the garage, but you're still looking forward."

Traditional colonoscopy is still considered to be the gold standard.  The Third Eye, which is manufactured by Avantis Medical Systems, works in conjunction with a traditional scope.  When inserted into the colon, the Third Eye camera flips around 180 degrees like a fish hook, allowing doctors to see backwards.

"In two out of the first twenty patients that we've seen, there were polyps on the other side of the fold," DeMarco said.

One of those patients is Joan Few. 

"He found a polyp that he would not have ordinarily found, and it's a dangerous one," she said.  She is thankful.  "I have six grandchildren, and I want to stay around to see them."

The Third Eye scope is still in clinical trials, but it has already received FDA approval.

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