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Thursday, 13 April 1972
Page: 1078

Senator WILLESEE - Has the Minister for Health any information on a visi.1 here by Dr Tatsuzo Kasugai of Japan during which he demonstrated an instrument - I understand it is known as the fibre-optic gastroscope - which has revolutionised the early detection of cancer and other stomach complaints? Has the Minister's Department any information on the instrument? If not, can it be obtained?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON I saw a comment in the Press this morning in relation to this matter and I sought some preliminary information on it. The Press comment indicated that this device is being used in certain of the major hospitals in Sydney. It is referred to in one case as the I-spy device. Recent developments in fibre-optics have resulted in instruments being produced which enable observers - they obviously would be people engaged in the medical field - to visualise the lining surfaces of some internal organs of the body. The fibre-optic gastroscope is passed into the stomach through the mouth and allows the doctor to examine the lining surface of the stomach. By careful examination the medical practitioner is able to see changes in the stomach lining allowing him to detect many abnormal conditions, including cancer of the stomach. The suggestion, of course, is that this is early detection. Early detection of cancer will greatly improve the chances of complete removal and cure of the cancer. I know that we all hope and pray that it will be another step towards the eventual conquest of cancer. That is the information I have at the moment. If any more particularised information becomes available to me I will be delighted to make it available not only to the Senate but also to the community at large.

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