New GPS Technology Helps Diagnose Lung Cancer at Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross is the only hospital in Will and Grundy counties to offer a new procedure that allows pulmonologists to better locate and test small, hard to reach abnormalities in the lungs, called nodules, without surgery. These nodules can be cancerous and if found early, can be successfully removed or treated.
The minimally invasive procedure, called electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy (ENB), helps physicians navigate a patient’s airways in the same way GPS guides drivers to their final destination. A virtual roadmap of the patient’s lungs and a pathway to the nodule is created by loading the patient’s CT lung scan onto a computer to be reconstructed into 3D images.
Photo 1: Pulmonologist Dr. Kristopher McDonough is the first physician in Will and Grundy Counties to use electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy technology to diagnose cancer in hard to reach areas of the lung at Silver Cross Hospital.
“This new technology allows us to get to nodules we would never be able to reach before,” said board certified pulmonologist Dr. Kristopher McDonough , who performed the first procedure in November and has used this advanced technology on two other Silver Cross Hospital patients. “Not only can we get to the peripheral areas of the lungs where the traditional bronchoscope cannot reach, but we can extract enough tissue to do unique molecular and genetic tests that allow our oncologists to tailor treatment specifically to one patient's lung cancer."
Typically, a chest X-ray or CT lung scan will discover nodules in the lungs, Dr. McDonough explained. For some patients, these nodules require a biopsy to determine whether or not cancer is present. Nodules can be biopsied in different ways, but the goal is to find the safest and least invasive way to get to the nodule, which is where this new ENB technology comes into play.
Photo 2: Using electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, physicians navigate a patient’s airways in the same way GPS guides drivers to their final destination. A virtual roadmap of the patient’s lungs and a pathway to the nodule is created by loading the patient’s CT lung scan onto a computer to be reconstructed into 3D images.
For patients undergoing radiation therapy for lung cancer at
the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital or elsewhere, the ENB technology allows pulmonologists to place locators in the cancerous lesion so radiation oncologists know where to treat it, and how focus that treatment to achieve maximum benefit with a minimum of side effects. This same technique can be used to aid in the removal of a lung tumor by surgery, if that is part of the treatment plan.
“In the past, we were limited in our diagnostic approach to some nodules deep in the lung, with open surgery being the only possibility. Now, however, we have a number of options,” said Dr. McDonough. “In conjunction with other exciting technologies available at Silver Cross, such as endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), ENB provides us with a comprehensive program for the minimally invasive diagnosis of lung cancer."
For more information about electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy or to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDonough, call Midwest Respiratory at (815) 725-2653.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured, but symptoms do occur in some people with early lung cancer. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
A cough that does not go away or gets worse
Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
Weight loss and loss of appetite
Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
Shortness of breath
Feeling tired or weak
Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back