Lung Cancer Patients Have New Options

This year in the U.S more than 200-thousand men and women will be diagnosed with lung cancer.

A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis and extent of the disease.

Now a new tool can provide those answers without surgery.

Gary Stribling is undergoing radiation for inoperable cancer in his throat and lung.

A new kind of ultrasound guided biopsy was able to get to the suspicious spot deep in his chest.

"The alternative if they had not been able to do this was to make, uh rather large incision, move a couple of ribs and get it the hard way. So I'm glad they found what they needed this way," says Stribling.

The Cleveland clinic in Weston was among the first hospitals in south Florida to use this less invasive way to get a lung tissue sample, reducing the need for surgical biopsy.

Dr. Eduardo Oliveria says, "We get a small scope that has a light source and a camera at the end but also this device has an ultrasound probe."

No need for the patient to have general anesthesia just sedation and the scope is inserted through the nose or mouth.

"We're able to do an ultrasound all the way inside the breathing tubes, find where those lymph nodes or spots or areas of concern are and then insert a needle through that scope under the guidance of an ultrasound and biopsy it there and then," says Oliveria.

Ultrasound guidance makes the biopsy more accurate and reduces the risk of complications.

In 80 to 90 percent of the cases this is the only procedure needed to diagnose and stage the level of disease.

Dr. Oliveria also encourages, "We know sooner what needs to be done. We know the stage, we can give prognosis, we can help the patients better and guide them better where they are going to go next as far as treatment of lung cancer or other diseases they might have."

Gary Stribling was glad to have this option.

Stribling says, "It worked just the way it's supposed to. It's so nice to see something that is on the cutting edge of science and it works exactly the way you hope it will."

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