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Your Healthy Family: New AI technology helps NCH doctors detect colon cancer

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 09:40:52-04

NAPLES, Fla. — March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is preventable, but it requires you to be proactive and get screened. NCH Healthcare System has new technology that uses artificial intelligence to help doctors detect colon cancer.

“Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide,” Dr. Mazen Albeldawi, the Head of Gastroenterology at NCH Healthcare System, said.

He said he's hoping new technology at NCH called the GI Genius will change that.

“The GI Genius is a revolutionary type of new technology that we've incorporated into our arsenal and NCH," Dr. Albeldawi said.

The GI Genius uses artificial intelligence to detect polyps — or abnormal growths in the colon — that may have otherwise been missed by even the best of the best physicians.

"They may have been missed because they were a small, early evolving, or flat. So it's like having a second pair of eyes during the procedure," Dr. Albeldawi said.

The GI Genius uses a database of millions of pictures of polyps of different shapes and sizes that are stored in a cloud. The technology is incorporated into any scope, so no additional equipment is needed.

“Anytime the technology believes it sees something abnormal, it'll place a green box around it, and that kind of directs us to look at that area a little bit closer to determine whether it's a polyp or not," Dr. Albeldawi told Fox 4.

NCH is one of two healthcare systems in the state to have this technology, and has had it for about four months. Dr. Albeldawi said the GI Genius makes a big difference in detecting colon cancer.

"It helped the best endoscopists in the world identify more polyps than they would typically identify with just their own set of eyes," he said.

In fact, studies showed a 14 percent increase in detection rate. When it comes to something as serious as cancer, any percentage could mean the difference between life and death.

“I think this is something that will continue to really revolutionize the prevention of colorectal cancer, where hopefully we can bring it down to levels where it's much better than it is at its current state," Dr. Albeldawi said.