In 2015, St. Luke’s-Global City’s Institute of Digestive and Liver Diseases (IDLD) set yet another milestone in Philippine healthcare through a partnership with Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. This is a first in the Asian region wherein Filipino gastroenterologists are able to learn and apply highly advanced Japanese technological
knowledge and skills in performing innovative endoscopic procedures, holding of clinical conferences and conducting clinical research. Coinciding with this partnership is the opening of the first Center for Advanced Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in the Philippines. This is an advanced gastrointestinal diagnostic and therapeutic center that is able to diagnose and treat upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) diseases using highly-advanced technologies from Japan, and manned by expert staff.
Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, Head of the IDLD in St. Luke’s-Global City, said that whatever will be developed in Japan when it comes to endoscopy as well as in liver disease treatment will be continuously transferred to the Institute. The Center for Advanced Gastrointestinal Endoscopy focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of difficult medical and gastrointestinal problems, particularly polyps that are hard to reach or excise in the GI tract. Accordingly, if not identified and removed, polyps may progress into colon cancer. The prevention, diagnosis and treatment of such entails the use of highly advanced endoscopes which are highly flexible and equipped with lenses capable of ultra-high definition imaging. This new, highly-advanced state-of-the-art technology significantly helps the gastroenterologist in the easier and earlier identification of small polyps which may otherwise be missed by regular endoscopes. This also enables the gastroenterologist to help prevent the onset of colon cancer by safely removing or excising the polyps. This is particularly important in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer. Among the procedures performed in the Center, also using these advanced endoscopes, include endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (EMD). Both procedures allow the endoscopic removal of larger and/or deeper polyps or lesions instead of removing these through open surgery. Most cancers originate from the innermost lining (mucosal surface) of the gastrointestinal tract, including colon, esophageal and stomach cancer. According to Dr. Cervantes, many colon, esophageal and stomach cancers can be prevented with early diagnosis and through minimally invasive, endoscopic means.
“Particularly in colon cancer, it all starts with a polyp. If polyps are not detected early, there is a 40-60% chance of developing colon cancer. That is why once we reach the age of 50, we must be diligent enough to have a colonoscopy. And a polyp can easily be removed endoscopically,” said Cervantes. With this latest, highly-advanced state-of-the-art endoscopes operated by highly-skilled endoscopic gastroenterologists at the Center for Advanced Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, more patients with difficult and complicated gastrointestinal diseases can be helped in a minimally invasive way.