Health alert: Diagnosis now faster thanks to digital pathology

Digital technology. It's everywhere including the medical suite. And it's helping doctors and patients in ways never imagined decades ago.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Digital technology. It's everywhere including the medical suite. And it's helping doctors and patients in ways never imagined decades ago.

When Mike Minshall was told he had just two months to live, it was devastating for him and his close, loving family. 

"The tears well up in your eyes and I was standing there with my wife and my son and you know almost break down completely,” Minshall said.

But thanks to a critical second opinion from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Minshall is already back pursuing his passion for antique cars.  

More than a year later, Minshall's prognosis is much brighter. By using new technology called digital pathology, diagnoses from now on are not only likely to be faster, but much more accurate the first time. 

"It has revolutionized cancer diagnostics. And this technology gives me the tools to answer the question which I couldn’t do that five years ago," said Dr. Anil Parwani with OSUCC. 

For decades, tumor cells were placed on glass slides for examination under a microscope. Getting them processed and mailed for review by specialist could take days, even weeks. 

“With digital pathology, you take those same glass slides and you digitize them and create millions of pixels, converting them into a large image,” Dr. Parwani explained. 

The digital images are far easier to store, share and access. And a diagnosis can be done in hours, not weeks. They also allow doctors to more accurately stage and grade specific types of cancer, which is something Minshall can appreciate. Now that he has received an accurate diagnosis, he is cancer free.

“Thank God my son and daughter-in-law were pushing me and my wife, to go and get this other opinion,” Minshall said.  

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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