By TIM BOULWARE
This week, the new endoscopy suite at St. Peter’s Health will officially open which includes new
admission and discharge bays along with five new procedure rooms. General surgeon and colon and rectal surgeon Dr. Emily Bubbers explains how this will ultimately benefit both the patient and the doctor.
“I do about four days of colonoscopies here at the hospital,” Bubbers said. “It’s going to increase my patient access, increase turnaround time and essentially, potentially allow me to do more scopes and open up my schedule to more patients.
“For patients, it means when they call to schedule a colonoscopy the wait times are going to be much shorter, getting into clinic, getting into see the providers will shorten and get them to be diagnosed or treated in a quicker response time.”
The timing could not be better for opening this new unit.
“March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. We’re pushing to get 80 percent of Helena screened by the end of 2018, and that’s everyone over the age of 50 is eligible for a screening colonoscopy,” Bubbers said.
And just like other cancers early detection is the key to recovery.
“Colon cancer is one of the few cancers we can prevent. If we take out the polyps before they turn into cancer we’ve now prevented the colon cancer. The earlier we diagnosed the colon cancer the more treatable and curable it is,” Bubbers said.
While getting a colonoscopy is not the most pleasant thing to go through the staff at St. Peter’s hopes their new home will make the experience less cumbersome.
“I think the patients will notice an improvement as they’re going to have a dedicated space to
themselves as well as they’re going to have a dedicated nursing staff who are here everyday in and out and their attention is not drawn other places,” Bubbers said.
The five year survival rate for those with stage I colorectal cancer is close to 90 percent.