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GPS-like Technology Aids in Fight Against Lung Cancer

August 02, 2011

Augusta, GA  – Patients have a new weapon in the early detection and treatment of lung cancer and other lung diseases, and Doctors Hospital is the first in the area to get it.

The Cancer Care Center at Doctors Hospital has recently acquired the superDimension® i-Logic System to offer the new Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB) procedure. The minimally-invasive procedure is used to locate, enable biopsy and even remove small lesions detected deep in the lung. These are spots that were previously inaccessible with traditional bronchoscopy. Therefore, this technology enables us to detect lung cancer early when it's most treatable.   

“This is the technology we’ve been waiting for, something that we know can help make a difference in detection and treatment for our patients,” says Dr. Carmel Joseph, a pulmonologist and medical director of the hospital’s Critical Care Services.  “This procedure is a safe and minimally-invasive way to pinpoint where the cancer may be,” says Joseph.

Just like a GPS tracker helps you reach your destination, this (ENB) procedure does the same for doctors while they are inside their patient’s lungs.  It’s combined with a catheter-based system that uses the patient’s natural airways to access lesions that were previously difficult or impossible to reach. Typically a patient with a spot on their lung had the options of major surgery to remove a section of the lung, bronchoscopy (which does not reach lesions deep in the lung), needle biopsy or watchful waiting.

Lung cancer kills more women than any other cancer – nearly 200 women each day. Most die within one year of diagnosis. “I have had several biopsies for my lung cancer and this was by far the best one.  It was much easier on me and didn’t require any cutting,” says patient of the new procedure, 73 year old Sue Walters.   

The procedure is a fairly simple one.  Once a CT image is created (the roadmap), electromagnetic sensors guide a catheter to the exact location where the sample is then taken.  In addition to taking samples, if cancer is detected then a pulmonologist can place markers in and around the lesion. This can assist surgeons with subsequent surgery or help radiation oncologists treat patients with external beam radiation.

“Early detection of lung cancer can make a difference in a person’s survival of it,” says Joseph, “and this technology is allowing us to do just that,” says Joseph.


About Doctors Hospital: Doctors Hospital is a full service acute-care hospital. Doctors Hospital specializes in Women’s Services, Orthopedics, and Cancer Care, and is home of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, which cares for over 3,000 patients annually.

 About Lung Cancer: According to the Centers for Disease Control Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, causing more deaths than the next three deadliest cancers combined -- breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Each year, approximately 200,000 patients are newly diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States and an additional 160,000 patients die from the disease.