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Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canadians and the fourth most common cancer diagnosis overall, despite the fact that it is one of the most detectable and preventable forms of cancer. Indeed, colorectal cancer has a precursor lesion, a polyp or benign growth that can be directly identified and whose removal can virtually eliminate the development of cancer, provided it is done early enough.
“The new Endoscopy Centre will provide for a more functional and patient-friendly facility to perform the endoscopy procedures that are crucial for the early detection of colorectal cancer. It will allow us to accommodate and treat more patients in an environment that meets the highest standards in terms of safety, comfort and privacy.”
– Dr. Philip H. Gordon, Chief,
Division of Colorectal Surgery
The Endoscopy Centre, run jointly by the Division of Gastroenterology and the Division of Colorectal Surgery, is where patients are referred for an evaluation of abnormal symptoms such as gastrointestinal bleeding, unexplained changes in bowel habit and suspicion of malignancy, as well as for routine screening for colorectal cancer using colonoscopy.
Increased public awareness about screening for colorectal cancer has prompted many more people to undergo colonoscopies for preventive purposes. Family physicians have become more attuned to the importance of colorectal cancer screening and are referring their patients in far greater numbers. In addition, a colorectal cancer screening program will be initiated by the Quebec government in 2012 using fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) – a test that helps identify polyps before they become cancerous, which can then be removed using colonoscopy. This will ultimately result in even more demand for colonoscopy.
Wait times for colonoscopies are already unacceptably high, with the result that patients with advanced symptoms and in need of colorectal surgery and those who are at high risk for colorectal cancer are facing undue delays in accessing and receiving the care they need. The current Endoscopy Centre lacks adequate space to cope with the current demand, let alone the additional demand this new colorectal screening program would create. Furthermore, if you consider that a follow-up routine screening is required every 5 years – every 3 years for patients who have pre-cancerous polyps – the pressure will only keep increasing. The new facility will improve patient safety and infection control and provide facilities for a dedicated recovery area for patients who have had a colonoscopy.
The relocation of the Division of Gastroenterology and the renovation and expansion of the Endoscopy Centre is a vital initiative that will improve quality of care and safety for our patient population and provide for timely access to a procedure that can save lives and is the cornerstone of colorectal cancer prevention and early detection. Improvements will include: construction of a bank of recovery rooms that offer safe, clean and private facilities with individual patient access to oxygen and suction lines; an additional procedure room; and acquisition of additional colonoscopes and specialized state-of-the-art equipment, such as an endoscopic storage cabinet with hepa filter.
The Division of Colorectal Surgery
The Division of Gastroenterology