Breakthrough lung cancer detection equipment now available locally

  • Brian Kinney, respiratory care and sleep disorders manager at MidMichigan Health, demonstrates the 3-D mapping capabilities of the SPiN Thoracic Navigation System. (Photo provided)

Lung cancer continues to be the leading cancer killer of both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Part of the reason the death toll is so high is that in many cases lung cancer doesn’t present symptoms until it is in the later stages. Early diagnosis saves lives and a new technology is helping physicians to find lung tumors earlier in those most at risk.

The new SPiN Thoracic Navigation System, also known as electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, is available now at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. This system adds a new dimension to traditional bronchoscopy, which guides the physician to the exact location of the nodule in the lung.

“Adding this specialized lung navigation system complements MidMichigan’s current state-of-the-art screening technology ensuring the best care possible in detecting lung cancer early,” said Joan Herbert, director of oncology services at MidMichigan Health. “Early diagnosis improves cure and survival rates and also enhances patients’ treatment options.”

Unlike traditional bronchoscopy, electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy uses GPS-like technology to create a three-dimensional virtual roadmap of the lungs. This map helps physicians guide a set of catheters through the lungs’ most complex airways to detect lung cancer and lung disease earlier, even before symptoms are evident, MidMichigan stated. It said this proactive diagnosis improves cure and survival rates and also enhances patients’ treatment options.

“This specialized navigation system allows our pulmonologists to visualize more of the bronchial tree and get better tissue sampling to diagnose and treat lung cancers earlier,” said MidMichigan Health Oncology Service Line Chief Melwyn Sequeira, M.D. “The ability to immediately diagnose when the tumor is first…