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New Technology Helps Stage Colon Cancer: April 2, 2019

Using three different angles, these MRI images give doctors a closer look at any kind of rectal cancer. “Usually the patients present with physical symptoms and then that leads to a clinical examination. It’s usually diagnosed through a colonoscopy, so the diagnosis is there, but we have no way of knowing how extensive the disease is,” said Dr. Matthew Assing, a radiologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.

But the new MRI at Lee Health Coconut Point helps physicians better evaluate patients to determine where the tumor is located. “If the tumor is extending to involve any of these structures out here that would be a worse prognosis,” explained Dr. Assing.

The higher quality images can easily help doctors determine the stage of cancer as well. “Stage one is you can’t see the tumor at all on an MRI, so that’s a good thing. Stage two is where you can see it, and it involves the wall,” he said.

Knowing the severity of the diagnosis can help to determine the best course of treatment for patients. “The treatment that was originally used was radical and led to high morbidity and very low poor quality of life afterward, so this scan helps the managing team, the surgeon, the oncologists come up with a specifically tailored plan,” Dr. Assing said.

Giving doctors a closer look—can help them to develop a more customized plan that can enhance the quality of life for each patient.

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