Doctors develop new way to more precisely pinpoint lung cancer

A new procedure is giving lung cancer patients a better chance at beating the odds.
February 28, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
More people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women. In the next twelve months, more than 200,000 people will be told they have it. Now, in a breakthrough procedure, doctors have developed a new way to more precisely pinpoint where the tumor is.

Surgical teams are now performing a new innovative technique that could mean the difference between life and death for Madeleine Florio. Madeleine opted for this groundbreaking procedure after watching her mother, father, and sister die of lung cancer.

"This is really like GPS. You don't have to waste time looking at the map," Raphael Bueno, MD, Thoracic Surgeon, Brigham and Women's Hospital, told ABC30.

A real-time CAT scan done during the surgery makes this different than a traditional procedure. That accurate image allows Dr. Bueno to mark the location of the tumor with a wire. He then makes a small incision and a tiny camera finds the wire and finds the tumor.

Dr. Bueno says had he performed the traditional procedure he would have removed more of Madeleine's lung to make sure all the cancer is removed. With the new procedure, he knows he got it all.

"I knew it would have been a longer recovery," Madeleine told ABC30.

Dr. Bueno says many patients are at risk for reoccurrence. So by preserving more of the lung the first time, it could help them later on in life.

He says this procedure is for patients with small lung nodules. Patients with large cancers will need a bigger operation.