MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – Almost 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year, which includes approximately 1,000 West Virginians. WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital is the first in the state to implement artificial intelligence (AI) to detect colorectal cancer.

The hospital received five GI Genius intelligent endoscopy modules as a part of the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program. The module uses AI to detect indicators of colorectal cancer.

“It helps increase our ability to prevent colon cancer from happening,” Dr. Shyam Thakkar said. “With this technology, it essentially gives us another set of eyes to detect polyps.”

According to a press release, AI-assisted colonoscopy can increase polyp detection rates, and every one percent increase in adenoma detection rate reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by three percent. The American Cancer Society recommends people at average risk get a screening at 45.

“It’s critically important for individuals to get screening because it’s a preventable disease and preventable cancer and now we have the technology to enhance our prevention and our outcomes from colonoscopy as well,” Dr. Thakkar said.