UF Radiation Oncology Uses New Scope to Diagnose and Treat Head and Neck Cancer

aScope 4Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, with approximately 630,000 new patients diagnosed each year.

In order to accurately detect and monitor head and neck cancer, doctors employ a procedure called rhinolaryngoscopy, during which a patient’s airways and throat are examined with the help of a small, thin, flexible fiber optic tube. The images and videos captured are then utilized by UF’s team of physicians and oncology specialists to assist with diagnosis and treatment planning.

The UF Department of Radiation Oncology has recently approved the use of the Ambu® aScope™ for patients, a new rhinolaryngoscope that increases comfort and safety during rhinolaryngoscopy. The device’s flexible endoscope, designed with high-bending angles and precise tip motion, features a small 3.0 mm outer diameter to minimize discomfort. Because it is single use, no cleaning, re-use, or repairs are needed, significantly decreasing the risk of infection for patients.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to take a look at how we balance careful infection control with fiscal and environmental responsibility,” said physician and Assistant Professor Kathryn Hitchcock, MD, PhD.  “These new scopes help us achieve all three goals by providing an affordable single use solution coupled with a clear plan for keeping these materials out of landfills.  Once we saw the excellent clarity of the images provided by these devices, we knew they were the answer.”

Used devices are disassembled and converted to raw materials and energy at specialized facilities. Each will eventually generate electricity, a sustainable alternative to traditional waste disposal.


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