Fujifilm: Advancing endoscopy to detect and defeat colorectal cancers


Tests & Scans
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Written by Tai Fujita

Tai Fujita is General Manager of Endoscopy for FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas.  He is a graduate of Keio University in Tokyo, the oldest institute of western higher education in Japan.

Robert, a father of two, husband and salesman who travels around the world for work, started experiencing abdominal pain and found himself feeling more tired than usual. At first, he chalked these symptoms up to a busy work schedule and diet changes due to business travel but decided to see his doctor for a checkup to be safe.

After talking through his symptoms, Robert and his physician agreed that a colonoscopy was required to get to the root of the problem.

During the colonoscopy, Robert’s physician found and was able to completely remove several polyps, some of which were pre-cancerous.

Fortunately, because Robert’s cancer was found in its early stages, he was able to undergo a successful surgery. Today, Robert is cancer free and lives a fruitful life doing the things he loves: spending time with his family and working in a rewarding career.

Individuals like Robert are embracing life today for one simple reason: Colonoscopy. Thanks to this non–invasive screening exam, Robert’s doctors caught colorectal cancer soon enough to save his life.

CRC: Treatable and Beatable

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States and the second most deadly behind lung cancer. In 2024 CRC moved up from the fourth to the third most common cancer, and of all cancers, CRC is expected to take the most lives of people under 50 by 2030.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task force strongly believes that regular screenings are the best way to keep this cancer at bay, leading to their decision in 2021 to lower the age for CRC screenings to 45 after a worrisome spike in cases of CRC in people younger than 50.

While the statistics are unsettling, medical device innovators are continuously bringing new and advanced endoscopy solutions for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) across the country. This is crucial as screening with endoscopes can find pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. They can also detect CRC early when treatment works best.

This means that with proper screening, CRC can be one of the most preventable, treatable, and beatable diseases.

Out Front About Looking Inside

Let’s face it. The topic of colonoscopy can make some people anxious, embarrassed, or even afraid. Thankfully, many organizations and celebrities have taken steps to reduce any potential worry surrounding colonoscopy.

Singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow, actor Ryan Reynolds, racecar driver Scott Lagasse, Jr., professional quarterback Dak Prescott, and Texas Rangers third-base coach Tony Beasley have all been involved in initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of screenings. Indeed, celebrities are very much out front about looking inside!

After all, that’s exactly what a colonoscopy, which is performed with an endoscope, does. The Greek prefix “endo-” means "within, inside." With endoscopes, physicians can look inside the body to detect, diagnose, and treat diseases in minimally-or non-invasive ways—so conditions that once required surgery can now be addressed without even making an incision.

However, while screening modalities can effectively reduce CRC incidence, U.S. screening rates remain low at 67%.

It isn’t surprising, then, that coincident with the decrease in endoscopic procedures, there was a concerning increase in early-onset colorectal cancer. That’s why now it’s more important than ever for all stakeholders—doctors, patient advocacy groups and medical device companies—to encourage patients to get back on track with their routine screenings.

This is why Fujifilm has partnered with Fight CRC.

Moreover, Fujifilm’s innovations support both the screening and treatment of CRC worldwide to help to tackle the surge of early-onset colorectal cancer.

Next Generation Technology

Staying true to our photography and imaging roots, one of Fujifilm’s most impactful solutions available today uses high-definition imaging to give physicians a greater look at what’s happening inside the body – now with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

New advancements in AI help alert patient’s physicians of polyps in real-time – both visually and audibly – even those that can be hard for the human eye to see. Studies show that Fujifilm’s newest AI technology for endoscopy – known as CAD EYE - is supporting physicians by helping to identify polyps during colonoscopy procedures in real-time.

Also in 2024, Fujifilm introduced SCALE EYE, a new and innovative endoscopic imaging technology for measuring colonic polyps. A patient’s polyp size is important, as the size helps the endoscopists determine how often a patient should return for follow-up screening or how they should remove the polyps.

While the industry has had access to a few tools like physical endoscopic rulers to help measure polyps once they are removed, they are cumbersome to use and time-consuming. Early results of Fujifilm’s SCALE EYE technology – a virtual measuring tool visible through the endoscope at the touch of a button - show it is superior in terms of accuracy and time compared with other traditional methods.

This image shows the comparison of utilizing white light imaging, linked color imaging (LCI), blue light imaging (BLI) and BLI with magnification to support detection and optical diagnosis of a colon polyp.

(A) White light imaging. (B) LCI improves tumor detectability; (C) BLI improves tumor detectability; (D) BLI with magnification showed dilated crypts and dilated vessels. Non-polypoid lesion, 10 mm, Cecum. High-grade adenoma

Advancing Care and Education

Fujifilm is advancing patient care and physician education at hundreds of clinical settings across the U.S., from leading academic medical centers to small ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). For example, fully integrated Fujifilm endoscopy systems have been installed at Dartmouth, in Colorado at PEAK Endoscopy, as well as at the University of Florida, New York University, Ohio Gastro Group, in Virginia at VCU Health, in Washington State at Providence St. Joseph’s, and in Jacksonville at Mayo Clinic to name a few.

One of the most exciting installations is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts which has been Fujifilm’s long-term endoscopy research partner and collaborator and is consistently ranked in the top tier of hospitals in the nation.

In 2022, Fujifilm equipped the 15,000-member American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Institute for Training & Technology, and global leader of advancement and education in the field of GI endoscopy, with 16 of Fujifilm’s industry-leading ELUXEO Endoscopic Imaging Systems and twenty 700 Series Endoscopes. The suite of comprehensive endoscopy solutions was installed in August 2022 and is utilized throughout ASGE’s live and virtual training programs for both endoscopy fellows and seasoned endoscopy professionals.

What’s more, Fujifilm forges strategic partnerships with leading physicians from numerous prominent healthcare institutions around the world. These renowned doctors provide input that helps us optimize existing technology and contributes to the development of next-generation advanced technologies that can lengthen and save lives.

Innovation and collaboration fuels Fujifilm and our partners. Our collective mission is to raise awareness, boost screening compliance, and improve colorectal cancer patient outcomes. Talk to your doctor about colonoscopy screening today. It could save your life tomorrow.

Transforming for the Bigger Picture

Many people know Fujifilm for its instant [“INSTAX”] and digital cameras, but did you know the company began applying its expertise in imaging healthcare by developing x-ray film from its photo film in 1936?

Since then, Fujifilm has been transforming its core technologies developed from manufacturing photo film and has committed much of its energy toward medicine, biotechnology and healthcare.

The reinvention of the company’s enterprise and mission is so extraordinary it became a classic Harvard Business Case Study and a more recent Fortune Magazine feature story.

Our digital cameras are developed with X-Trans CMOS sensors to produce high quality images with the rich color, tonality and dimensionality required to capture the big picture. Now imagine adapting and transforming this imaging technology to enable the detail and precision required to visualize the smallest of microvessels in your GI tract. That’s innovation.

Today, Fujifilm’s medical imaging innovations are a key player in that transformation and are put to use in frontline healthcare facilities across the globe. Our robust medical imaging portfolio includes solutions for digital radiography, mammography, computed tomography, MRI, ultrasound, gastroenterology, pulmonology, endosurgery, minimally invasive surgery, as well as an award-winning enterprise imaging portfolio.

From blazing new trails in the field of technology to working towards a healthier society through healthcare innovations, Fujifilm understands the importance of building a better future for all. For 90 years, Fujifilm has developed and expanded our healthcare business in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. As a comprehensive healthcare company with a wide range of technologies and expertise, we will never stop innovating for a healthier world.

Tai Fujita is General Manager of Endoscopy for FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas. He is a graduate of Keio University in Tokyo, the oldest institute of western higher education in Japan.