Cancer is a word many people don't like to hear and may be scared of, but technology has constantly been increasing to help diagnose patients quicker and treat them more efficiently. Recently a smart knife was released that can instantly detect cancer.
Officials at United Hospital Center are excited about this new technology, but it's only in it's testing stages in Europe so there's
still a long trial process. This got 5 News thinking about the diagnoses and treatment process of cancer in general. The Director of Cancer Services broke down what exactly cancer is and how they understand it.
There are over 100 different types of cancer, but what are the characteristics?
"It divides uncontrollably. It sometimes has the ability to move throughout the body. Sometimes it can be very difficult to control or kill," said Linda Carte, UHC Director of Cancer Services.
Cancer can really show up anywhere on your body. The early you detect it, the easier it is to treat.
"Seeing your physician at least annual. And the best advice I can give to people is to pay attention to their body. If there's something going on. Often times your body gives you signals," said Carte.
If a tumor is found on your body, the next step is to find out whether it's cancerous or benign.
"It involves an x-ray for where the tumor is and the size of the tumor. It may involve lab studies, looking at blood tests, or actual samples of the tumor. To decide whether it's cancerous or benign. It also can tell the extend of the disease and what treatment is in the patients best interest. It is done through lab testing where a pathologist analyzes the tissue sample and by looking at the cells within the tissue that's removed they can determine whether the tumor is cancerous or benign," said Carte.
Most people think waiting for the results is a long process, but it usually isn't.
"At the time of biopsy an answer can be received within two to five days of whether it is benign or cancerous. But I have to say there are
sometimes where the tumor sample has to be sent out to a different lab," said Carte.
Sometimes there are problems with getting all of the cancer, but the new smart knife can detect cancer instantly by the smoke released. Even though this is extremely new, people who work with cancer patients love the possibility of something else to help.
"It's always exciting when we hear about new technology that may become available. Technology is always really exciting because anything that can be done to assist cancer patients for diagnoses and treatment is very helpful. Helping us to what we know about cancer or what we know about appropriate ways to remove or treat the disease," said Carte.
The trial process will take a while, but it's better to be safe.
"And it's lengthy for a good reason to make sure whatever technology or whatever medications or whatever radiation treatment is thoroughly tested so that it's safe to be used," said Carte.
Carte said she is confident in t treatment they supply for their patients.
"What we have available now is the best that we have to offer from years and tens of years of research," said Carte.