Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a serious health problem in countries with a westernized lifestyle where is the second cause of death by cancer. CRC is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide with over 1.3 million new cases annually. In Spain CRC affects 1 in 20 men and 1 in 30 women between 50 and 74 years old and the 5-year survival rate is 64%. Colonoscopy is the only screening method able to prevent CRC by detecting precancerous polyps that evolve into cancer unless resected. However 22% of polyps are not detected with colonoscopy and the risk of cancer after a negative result is as high as 60-70%. The poor effectivity is credited to visualization limitations and the lack of information during the exploration to support medical decisions.
Our solution is based on microwave imaging using an antenna head that attaches to the distal end of a standard colonoscope. A dedicated software is responsible for fusing the current endoscopic image with that created by the microwave head. We previously demonstrated that this technology is able to differentiate polyps and tumors from healthy tissues, has the potential to detect and localize polyps unseen by current colonoscopy, and can create 3D patient specific colon models. This technology has the advantage that does not modify current clinical practice of colonoscopy, is safe and low-cost.