As technology and the clinical applications of endoscopy expand, our innovations play an increasingly significant role in cancer prevention, detection and treatment.
In 1950, Olympus made history by introducing the world’s first gastrocamera. Developed in collaboration with a forward-thinking physician working at the University of Tokyo Medical Center, the gastrocamera was designed to be inserted into the human body to photograph and examine the interior of a patient’s stomach. This remarkable innovation—the precursor to today’s endoscopes—enabled physicians to detect stomach cancers much sooner, using a minimally invasive procedure instead of performing invasive open gastric surgery.
The launch and diagnostic success of the gastrocamera solidified Olympus’ role in developing less invasive and increasingly sophisticated technologies that would aid in the early detection and treatment of cancer. Now, more than 60 years later, Olympus’ renowned, minimally invasive medical technologies have continued to evolve with enhanced functionality and improved imaging to meet the needs of a broad array of medical specialties so that medical practitioners can better see and treat cancers and other diseases of the internal organs.
Early Detection and Treatment
Most cancers are more likely to be cured if they are detected and treated at an early stage. Furthermore, patient outcomes and quality of life are improved if diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can be performed using minimally invasive technologies.
Toward that effort, Olympus collaborates with physicians and other healthcare professionals to continually assess their needs. This guides our research and development efforts to innovate technologies that help advance procedural technique and improve the quality of patient care. For example, Olympus was one of the pioneers in developing videoscopes in the late 1980s. These endoscopes have a built-in video camera that converts images into electronic signals for display on a TV monitor. This allows a medical team to indirectly examine a body part simultaneously as they view it on the monitor. Improved light sources combined with video imaging were able to deliver an enhanced field of view on the video monitor while reducing the back strain and eye fatigue associated with procedures observed directly through the eyepiece of an endoscope. The result has been a drastic improvement in diagnostic accuracy, improved patient care, and better ergonomics for the procedural team.
In addition to increasingly sophisticated endoscopic equipment, Olympus has also developed therapeutic devices that have expanded the capabilities of endoscopes beyond the diagnostic realm, allowing endoscopic technology to serve a vital role in treatment of cancers and other diseases. Today, advanced endoscopic systems enable physicians to both detect and treat cancers at earlier stages to improve procedural outcomes.
The role of endoscopes today
Endoscopic technologies serve a vital role in medicine today. Endoscopes are used in a wide range of clinical fields, including gastroenterology, urology, pulmonology, otolaryngology and gynecology to diagnose and deliver a wide range of therapies, including early cancer detection and treatment. Helping physicians around the globe fight cancer and improve the quality of life for their patients remains one of the driving principles behind Olympus’ innovations.