Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence we will finally be able to improve the performance and results during endoscopic examinations such as colonoscopy, in order to arrive at a real prevention of colon cancer, the second malignant tumor for incidence in Italy after that of the breast. A technological revolution that will help doctors to identify and classify even the smallest polyps in the earliest stages, precursors of the tumor, which could escape during a colonoscopy performed with standard technology.

This is one of the most important innovations in the field of endoscopy that will be presented at the tenth edition of IMAGE (International Meeting Advanced Gastroenterology Endoscopy), the international course of Endoscopy that from 13 to 15 June brings together in Humanitas experts from around the world, with live sessions in which the latest news in gastroenterology and endoscopy will be addressed.

For the first time in the world, live streaming of colonoscopy and artificial intelligence

For the first time in the world, during the Congress will be broadcast live streaming of a colonoscopy with the use of artificial intelligence performed by Professor Mike Wallace, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with Prof. Alessandro Repici, Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University and Head of Digestive Endoscopy at Humanitas.

This innovative artificial intelligence system represents a major step forward in the prevention of colon cancer as it will help doctors to make a more accurate and precise diagnosis of colon polyps, the first precursors of colon cancer.

“In Europe, one patient dies of colon cancer every 3 minutes – comments Prof. Alessandro Repici – and colonoscopy is the greatest weapon of prevention of this disease. The introduction of artificial intelligence represents a technological revolution that will help to drastically reduce mortality from this tumor. Thanks to the artificial intelligence, colonoscopy will become much more precise and selective in identifying the so-called polyps, precursors of cancer. After that, an endoscopic operation to remove the polyps will be enough to prevent the onset of the tumor”.

IMAGE: the course and innovations

The course is directed by four Humanitas specialists: Professor Alessandro Repici, Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University and Head of Digestive Endoscopy at Humanitas, Dr Silvia Carrara, Head of the Ecoendoscopy Programme, Dr Andrea Anderloni, Head of the Bilio-Pancreatica Operational Endoscopy Section and Dr Roberta Maselli, Head of Endoluminal Operational Endoscopy.

Hundreds of experts from all over the world will discuss the most important clinical and technological innovations for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of many digestive diseases including colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, new therapies for achalasia or endoscopic management of patients with obesity problems and metabolic syndromes.

Endoscopy is an enormously expanding field because it is a real gateway to our body without any traumatic approach and allows for multiple operations.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, new technologies are now able to eliminate the number of undetected polyps, improve the characterization of lesions before the histological examination and improve the program of screening of colon cancer.

Colon cancer: who is affected and with which symptoms?

In men, colorectal cancer is in third place after lung and prostate cancer; in women, it is immediately after the breast cancer, which takes the first place. This cancer can occur at any age, but is more frequent in people over 50 years of age (90% of cases), but is rather rare in childhood. Young people run a greater risk of not seeing the tumor diagnosed early, precisely because in the younger age groups the possibility that this tumor is present is often underestimated.

This form of cancer recognizes a certain familiarity: in fact, it is possible to inherit the risk of becoming ill if there are diseases such as family adenomatous polyposis and Crohn’s disease present in the family of origin. It has also been seen that the risk of developing cancer is greater for people with first-degree relatives – parents, siblings and children – already affected by this neoplastic form. Other risk factors may include: high-calorie diet, high in animal fat and low in fibre; smoking; alcohol abuse; obesity; lack of physical activity.

Colorectal cancer can be asymptomatic for a long time. The first signs of it are loss of the blood in the stool (polyps, in fact, tend to bleed) and constant alteration of intestinal activity, such as constipation. In more advanced stages, there are additional symptoms such as: abdominal pain; nausea and vomiting; continuous stimulus to evacuation; rapid and unjustified weight loss; anemia; sense of exhaustion.