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Rachael Samonski
June 30, 2022

Physicians are working to combat a startling rise in early onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC). Three new endoscopy techniques may help reduce risk factors and identify symptoms and precancerous polyps at an earlier stage. These items, along with the recently reduced screening age from age 50 to 45, aim to reverse this rising trend.

“Distant stage disease plays a big role in the overall burden of rectal and colon cancer,” an article from MDLinx states. “The biggest impact is in patients in their 20s and 30s, according to the data. Younger age at presentation (of cancer) is linked to a higher risk of metastatic disease at presentation.”

Below are three new endoscopy techniques looking to revolutionize patient care.

Linked Color Imaging as new endoscopy technique

Linked Color Imaging (LCI) will assist physicians in identifying smaller lesions, helping them standout on screen during a procedure.

Results of a controlled trial published in Endoscopy International Open showed that LCI performed better than similar identification techniques, such as blue laser imaging (BLI) and traditional white-light images (WLI).

“These results strongly suggest that endoscopic observation utilizing LCI mode improves the detection and diagnosis of SSA/Ps (sessile serrated adenoma/polyps) that may sometimes be overlooked with conventional WLI observation,” the study authors wrote.

MRI Colonoscopy

The MRI colonoscopy offers several benefits for patients by not only scanning for colorectal polyps but assessing for cancer metastases.

Like a traditional colonoscopy, patients must change positions during the procedure. Additions such as metal implants can also create issues during the procedure. The patient must also complete colon prep for this technique. This means patients must be thorough prior to arriving for their screenings.

MDLinx explains that while the procedure appears to hold promise, more high-level studies are required to fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of this modality.

Computed Tomography (CT) Capsule

The CT capsule, known as Check-Cap, provides a modality that requires no bowel prep on the part of the patient. As the capsule moves toward the colon it emits small amounts of x-ray. This is similar to that of one chest x-ray, via a small motor.

“No bowel prep is needed, although contrast is used to help identify the colon walls and differentiate polyps from stool,” MDLinx explains. “X-ray images are relayed from slices of the colon to a recording unit positioned at the patient’s back.”

The article adds that preliminary test results hold promise, and it continues to be examined further in multicenter studies.