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New robotic technology allows earlier lung cancer detection

Metro Health is the only local hospital offering the technology
Posted at 11:53 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 23:53:31-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Metro Health is using new robotic technology to diagnose lung cancer - the most fatal form of cancer in the United States - earlier than ever before. Doctors are calling it the most advanced technology to diagnose lunch cancer.

The Ion robot uses shape-sensing technology, allowing doctors to get to hard-to-reach areas of the lung and its airways.

"No matter how small the nodule or how far, we can easily reach to give the patient diagnosis and treat them," said Dr. Mounir Ghali, Director of Interventional Pulmonology at Metro Health.

Doctors use a CT scan alongside the technology to create a three-dimensional road map of the lung. Imagine this as similar to a GPS guiding doctors into the lungs airways and potentially, to a cancerous nodule. If a nodule is located, the catheter has a needle on the end to collect a sample for biopsy.

"It's the most advanced technology available. All over the world, to say the least, about it," said Dr. Ghali.

Dr. Ghali and the team at Metro are the first in West Michigan to provide the service to their patients, which ultimately leads to fewer complications than previous techniques.

The outpatient procedure can take less than an hour and allow patients to resume daily activities within 24 hours.

"You know, for me, the most exciting thing is the ability to reach a nodule early enough and give the patient diagnosis which will give them, put them on the right track."

As part of the cancer network of West Michigan, the technology is also available to patients treated at Mercy Health and Michigan Medicine as part of the collaboration.