Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
TriStar Centennial Medical Center recently rolled out new technology which can detect lung cancer in it’s earliest stages.
“We really believe this is going to transform lung cancer, specifically in our Middle Tennessee region,” said Dr. Susan Garwood.
Garwood, a pulmonologist at TriStar Centennial, said the new technology takes a modified Xbox controller and uses it to navigate a scope into the patient’s lungs.
“If you think about an Xbox controller, it’s ergonomically perfect for this,” said Garwood. “You can use both thumbs. Even those of us who aren’t games can figure this out. It’s a natural fit for your hands.”
TriStar Centennial is the only hospital in the state using this technology.
“You can drive, you can suction and you can aspirate, so it’s all the functionality you need for a bronchiscope, all at the touch of the button,” said Garwood.
Previous screening methods had limitations. Doctors said this technology offers new possibilities.
“It allows full visualization all the way out to the edges of the lung, with great approximation,” said Garwood. “You can look lung cancer in the face as you biopsy.
“The ability to have line of sight, reach and full visualization is something we’ve never had before as a tool in bronchoscopy. The entire goal of this technology is to reach things we never could before.”
Garwood said doctors used the device in 10 cases last week, detecting early cancer in four of those cases.
“Eighty percent of people don’t make it to five years. The only way we can change that is to find lung cancer early,” said Garwood. “When we can find lung cancer the size of a centimeter, like we can with this technology, the cure rate is 91 percent.”
Medical professionals said young “gamers” could end up training to be a doctor one day.
“Don’t detract your kiddos from playing video games because you never know if that may be a medical invention one day,” said Garwood.
Tennessee ranks seventh in the nation for smokers and ranks fifth highest among lunch cancer deaths.
More than 80 percent of people diagnose with lung cancer do not survive the disease, in part because it is often found at an advanced stage.