Author: Bill Huffnagle, CEO of CDx Diagnostics, April 27, 2020
During this trying time, the healthcare system is facing exponential challenges, including the impact of increased danger to vulnerable populations. Patients with preexisting diseases are facing new risks, which is why we must continue to raise awareness of deadly diseases, like esophageal cancer (EC), one of the fastest-growing cancer diagnoses in the U.S.
As April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, it is particularly important to shine a light on EC and discuss ways to prevent it from developing. CDx Diagnostics would like to thank all healthcare professionals and medical organizations that work to raise awareness of EC, as well as acknowledge those who have been affected by the condition, including their families and caregivers. Increasing awareness of EC is vital, as the American Cancer Society predicts that about 18,440 new esophageal cancers will be diagnosed in 2020, resulting in 16,170 fatalities – with men 3 to 4 times more likely than women to develop it.
In these uncertain times, non-essential healthcare procedures and treatments for common conditions that may be associated with more serious diseases might be sidelined but should not be overlooked. For example, in our current health crisis, stress eating may lead to greater instances of heartburn (GERD). If you notice changes or worsening of your GERD symptoms, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider about potential complications, including Barrett’s esophagus (BE), a known precursor to EC.
Fortunately, WATS3D sharply increases the routine detection of BE and precancerous changes (esophageal dysplasia), compared to standard biopsy procedures. Physicians use WATS3D to obtain a wide area, full-thickness specimen of the esophagus which is then sent for computer-assisted 3D laboratory analysis. The combination of improved sampling by physicians and next-generation computer analysis using artificial intelligence allows WATS3D to identify BE and dysplasia at stages where they can be easily treated- before they develop into esophageal cancer. In fact, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has recently included our WATS3D technology in its Standards of Practice Committee’s guideline for the screening and surveillance of BE, which can be found here.
We are proud that routine clinical use of CDx Diagnostic testing has already detected thousands of precancers that would have been missed and detected at a more advanced and potentially deadly stage. CDx Diagnostics is committed to empowering physicians to prevent EC, and will continue to raise awareness about the connection between chronic heartburn, GERD and esophageal cancer, and our unique medical advances that reliably detect precancerous cells – sooner rather than later.
Our company recently adopted the mission statement of “Empowering Physicians with Innovative Technology to Prevent Esophageal Cancer, One Patient at a Time” – which underscores our pledge to patients' health. In our plans to achieve our mission, our company has also relocated to a new facility in Suffern, NY – merging 5 offices into one centralized location, encouraging further collaboration, communication, and efficiency between teams to improve operations across the board. Further emphasizing our commitment to esophageal health, we have also recently launched our new website – a platform that reflects our company’s core values and builds engagement with patients and the gastroenterology community.
I want to thank all healthcare professionals at the forefront of keeping us safe and healthy. It is our hope that broader use of WATS3D can potentially transform esophageal cancer into a preventable disease, and we look forward to working with all of you as we deliver on our long-term mission.