Leading the charge for early detection
The Lung Center at Saint Agnes Hospital is working to detect lung cancer at its earliest stages. Catching the cancer early provides the best chance for a cure. When a patient visits their primary care physician complaining of symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss or coughing up blood, the patient is sent for a chest X-ray. If the X-ray provides a suggestion of a nodule, then a CT scan may be ordered for a more definitive picture. Following an abnormal CT scan, the patient is referred to a pulmonologist for a biopsy. The biopsy is usually acquired through fiber-optic bronchoscopy, which enables the pulmonologist to gain a tissue sample from the questionable spot in the lungs.
LEADING THROUGH EXPERIENCE
Our Lung Center is one of the few hospitals in the United States which has extensive experience in performing and analyzing CT screens for lung cancer, because the hospital has participated for six years as part of a national clinical study called the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, or I-ELCAP, which involved over 50,000 participants worldwide. A recent groundbreaking study released by the National Cancer Institute proved that CT screening for this deadly cancer can have a significant impact on a patient’s survival.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
When lung cancer is detected at Stage 1, the chance for survival after five years is 92 percent. If it is diagnosed as a Stage 4 lung cancer, the rate dips to 15 percent. Through the I-ELCAP study, Saint Agnes and other hospitals participating in the study have learned that annual CT screening allows for at least 80 percent of lung cancers to be diagnosed in Stage 1. This knowledge is significant, but the Physicians at Saint Agnes Hospital did not stop there.
GPS FOR YOUR LUNGS
The Lung Center at Saint Agnes Hospital is one of the few in the area to utilize the SuperDimension® i•Logic System, a form of Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy. This minimally invasive technology acts like a GPS system for your lungs. It enables a Physician to take a biopsy of nodules located in hard to reach areas that previously required a more invasive procedure. This system also enables physicians to diagnose the smallest lymph nodes and nodules that previously were undiagnosed until they were larger and more visible or symptomatic.
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The Physicians at the Lung Center take a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of lung cancer. Our team of primary care physicians, nurses, pulmonologists, radiologists, oncologists and thoracic surgeons create an individual plan to provide the best care for each patient. Lung cancer is often treated through thoracic surgery and can be coupled with chemotherapy, radiation or both. The Thoracic Surgeons at Saint Agnes are committed to removing the tumor while maintaining as much of the lung tissue and function as possible. Our Thoracic Surgeons work very closely with our Pulmonary department to develop the most effective surgery plan.
LEADERS IN COMPLEX LUNG SURGERY
Saint Agnes Hospital remains in the forefront of minimally invasive surgery. The hospital recently acquired the da Vinci Surgical System, a state-of-the-art robotic technology that is the most advanced surgical equipment in use today. The da Vinci system provides higher resolution images, better vision for the physician and newer technology with more flexibility and articulation, more turning and bending, and more freedom, enabling for a precise operation. Saint Agnes was one of the first facilities in Maryland to perform da Vinci assisted lung surgery. Today it performs more minimally invasive lung surgeries than any other hospital in Maryland. Besides being more precise and efficient, the da Vinci surgery system is better for the patient. Instead of having a large incision of up to eight inches in length the da Vinci uses four small incisions. This reduces pain and speeds up recovery.