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New technology helping Saint Joseph Hospital better treat colorectal cancer

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Posted at 9:03 AM, Jan 05, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — New technology is circulating to help protect more people from cancer and a Lexington hospital is the first in the state to use it.

Saint Joseph Hospital has transitioned into using GI Genius technology for colorectal cancer screenings.

The AI technology launched in February 2022 and was provided to the health system through the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program, which donates technology to facilities that serve medically underserved communities.

More than 14 million images have been loaded into the GI Genius units—which Saint Joseph Hospital has received three—to help doctors better detect polyps or pre-cancerous lesions.

Dr. Bilal Aslam, a gastroenterologist at Saint Joseph Hospital, is excited to be able to work with new equipment that can see things beyond the naked eye as well as lead the way for this tech to spread across Kentucky.

"The software helps increase by 14.4% of an absolute increase of adenoma detection rate. Each one percent equates to a three percent reduction in colorectal cancer deaths,” Dr. Aslam said.

"We're proud to be the first to use it. We're proud to be the only one in Lexington or Louisville to still be using it. I think it's a service we are proud to offer."

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer ranks fourth among all cancer diagnoses in Kentucky, but second in cancer deaths among all adults in 2022.

However, Dr. Aslam affirmed there is a roughly 90% survival rate of certain colorectal cancers in the first five years from diagnosis if its caught early which this new technology aims to do.

Studies of the new computer-aided polyp detection system showed a 50% reduction in missed colorectal polyps versus standard colonoscopy.