New Technology Aids North Memorial Health Hospital in Lung Cancer Detection
North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale has launched the use of breakthrough technology to more accurately detect lung cancer.
Doctors say the technology, which the hospital started using earlier this year, has already helped improve health outcomes.
“It’s really made a big difference for being able to actually tell people if there’s actually something going on in them to worry about,” said Dr. Sean Stoy, interventional pulmonologist at North Memorial Health Hospital.
The new bronchosope technology is likened to a sort of “robotic GPS” for lungs.
Before the innovation, doctors manually operated a bronchoscope, a tube containing a camera inserted into someone’s trachea. With that method, doctors could only reach about a third to halfway into the lungs’ airways, which get smaller and smaller the further you go.
The new robotic bronchoscope is thinner and can move in all directions, allowing doctors to reach much deeper — about 90 to 95 percent of the lungs’ airways.
“We needed something more flexible that had a better steering capability,” said Dr. Stoy.
Dr. Stoy says most spots or nodules in people’s lungs are actually not cancer. The improved technology helps reduce procedural risk.
“We really want to be sure if we’re going to be move on toward treatment, what we’re dealing with,” said Dr. Stoy.
The new technology is also significant because catching lung cancer early can mean the difference between life and death. Lung cancer last year claimed more than 127,000 lives, more than than prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer combined.
“When you catch cancer early, we know we can move on toward treatment and cure it,” said Dr. Stoy. “If you wait until it has spread, or wait until you have symptoms from lung cancer, it becomes nearly impossible to cure.”