PVMHC Detects Lung Cancer Using New Technology
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and doctors at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) are promoting a lifesaving new procedure that can detect lung cancer earlier and less painfully. Lung cancer is the leading – and silent – killer of American men and women. It has a higher death rate than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined. The reason lung cancer is so deadly is due to how difficult it is to detect.
“The lungs’ vast maze of tiny airways can both hide a tumor and make a biopsy – the only definitive way to diagnose lung cancer – extremely difficult,” said Gurbinder Sadana, M.D., Pulmonologist at PVHMC.
In the past, lung cancer was detected though an invasive, traditional bronchoscopy procedure with high risk of complication. Jim Armstrong, an Upland resident who has smoked for 50 of his 68 years of life received this type of procedure and the side effect that came with it – a collapsed lung.
After this harrowing experience and a CT scan that revealed three cancerous nodes on his lungs, Jim went to PVHMC to get a biopsy. Instead of using the traditional invasive needle puncture procedure, which comes with increased risk and complications, doctors used electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB). This procedure utilizes computer technology to create a three-dimensional image of the patient’s lungs and to map a route to the lesion. This makes it so that the doctor can snake a bronchoscope to the exact location of the lesion and get a biopsy.
Jim was impressed with the difference between his traditional procedure and the navigational bronchoscopy he received at PVHMC. “With the navigational biopsy on my right lung, there was no pain and no side effects,” said Jim. Lung Cancer Awareness month provides a time to reflect on the loss, victory and pain that accompanies lung cancer. This month is also an opportunity to be educated on lung cancer and the new procedures, like ENB bronchoscopy, that provide more effective ways of fighting this ruthless disease.