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New technology for lung cancer detection

Posted On: June 02 2011

EBUS allows physicians to perform a technique known as transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA under ultra sound guidance) to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without conventional surgery. The samples can be used for diagnosing and staging lung cancer, detecting infections, and identifying inflammatory diseases that affect the lungs, such as sarcoidosis or other cancers like lymphoma. Dr. Joseph Whitlark has recently begun perform the EBUS procedures at Lenoir Memorial. “Often a diagnosis of cancer cannot be confirmed without invasive diagnostic surgery. This new technology is offering patients a less invasive alternative for evaluating the airways and diagnosing lung and lymph node tumors,” said Whitlark.

EBUS involves no incisions for this outpatient procedure, making it a good choice for patients whose other alternative is surgery. This minimally invasive diagnostic tool is useful for patients with possible cancers in their lymph nodes which previously required surgery to diagnose. The physician uses a bronchoscope equipped with an ultrasound device that is threaded through the patient’s nose or mouth into the airways of the lungs. Whitlark can to see “real-time” ultrasound images that guide him to where to take the biopsy that tests for cancer as well as other diseases. Lung cancer kills more Americans than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined. With new technology such as EBUS, physicians are able to continue to make strides toward diagnosing and treating lung cancers as quickly as possible.

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