Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) allows doctors to determine the extent of colorectal cancer. The prognosis of colon cancer depends on the stage of colon cancer at the time of detection. EUS helps doctors actually view what tissues are affected by the cancer and understand how far the cancer has progressed.
For example, if an endoscopic ultrasound displayed images of colon cancer isolated to the inner surface of the colon, that would be consistent with an early stage of colon cancer. The EUS would show that the cancer had not spread to adjacent tissues or distant organs. However, if the EUS shows that the cancer has already spread beyond the colon wall and into lymph nodes and nearby organs (or to distant organs like the lungs or liver), a doctor would diagnose advanced colon cancer. Therefore, EUS provides important information about the depth of penetration of the cancer and how far the cancer has spread to tissues and organs.
Effectiveness of EUS
Compared to CT scan and MRI, EUS is the most accurate method of assessing the depth of invasion of colorectal cancer. Among several studies, EUS provides the most accurate staging for colorectal cancers because of the high resolution images that the ultrasound can provide.
Benefits of EUS
Endoscopic ultrasound provides medical professionals with clear images of the gastrointestinal tract to determine abnormalities and cancer progression. Pre-operative staging determines the type of surgery that the patient needs as well as whether chemotherapy or other treatments are necessary. EUS can also be a screening technique for high risk individuals with a family history of colon cancer.
Talk to your doctor about whether you are a good candidate for EUS. This non-invasive screening method is helping to reduce the rate of colon cancer in the United States. Early detection means early treatment and increased survival rates.