HELENA – After more than a year of planning and work, Saint Peter’s Health has unveiled it’s newest treatment facility, a new endoscopy suite.

“This is the one thing we know we can do to prevent cancer,” says Emily Bubbers, SPH Colorectal Surgeon.

Increased capacity and efficiency … that’s what SPH officials say the suite of five procedure rooms and ten recovery beds mean to the Helena community. It cost $2.3 million to build.

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“Before we were housed with other parts of the hospital,” says Dr. Bubbers.

“But we are opening up this new area so that we increase the number of colonoscopies we do a year by 2,000 a year to better serve the Helena area.”

The centralized facility will focus on preventative care.

“So anyone over 50 is able to get a screening colonoscopy to look for precancerous lesions called polyps,” says Bubbers. “If we find them early we can remove them and prevent colon cancer.”

Dr. Bubbers says for patients, the new facility will mean better access and less wait times for patients.

“This space, to me, gives me the ability to do more colonoscopies more efficiently and work with the same nurses who are dedicated to an area, not being pulled in different directions and it’ll just bring us to a more streamlined, higher state of care.”

Colonoscopies are not everyone’s favorite subject, but Saint Pete’s hopes this expanded facility will help them increase early detection of colorectal cancer.

“Don’t put it off,” says Bubbers.

“As bad as a colonoscopy sounds, it’s a whole lot easier than going through surgery for cancer, going through chemotherapy for cancer. It’s just an hour out of your day. It’s just a day off of work. It’s a life saving, early procedure that we can get you in quickly here in Helena.”

Bubbers and the rest of the team are proud and excited about this new treatment space.

“Bringing us to the national level of endoscopy suites. We’re really going above and beyond with this space. Allowing more patients to come, better access and more comfort for our patients and their families while they are here.”

In 2016, Montana ranked 49th in the nation for colorectal screenings.

SPH officials hope this new suite will improve that ranking.