Waco: Hospital has new tool in fight against lung cancer

Dr. Boris Murillo, a pulmonologist at Ascension Providence next to Ion Imaging tool says, “the latest statistics show that more people in the United States die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer." (photo-Ascension Providence)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Ascension Providence announced Friday the use of a new robotic tool to help accelerate the fight against lung cancer.

The hospital referred to the new tool as the “Ion robot-assisted bronchoscopy,” or “Ion Imaging” which is a “minimally-invasive technology that can help improve accuracy and precision of the biopsy of a potentially cancerous nodule."

The health system is the first in Central Texas to have this technology, and one of only 25 health systems across the country, said Ascension Providence.

The significance of having the newest minimally-invasive tool is that “doctors can create a roadmap to access the lung nodule before they even begin the procedure.

Then, a doctor controlling the robot can access the nodule by guiding a catheter to it using the roadmap and a camera.”

Prior to this new technology, “doctors were not able to reliably biopsy the nodule through a bronchoscopy if it was less than 2 centimeters.

With robot-assisted bronchoscopy, doctors can biopsy nodules as small as 1 centimeter, potentially diagnosing lung cancer earlier.”

Additionally, the new tool allows for passage of “hard-to-reach areas that may have previously required CT scan-guided biopsies, which can have significant complications.”

Dr. Boris Murillo, a pulmonologist at Ascension Providence says “the latest statistics show that more people in the United States die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is partially because lung cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage than other cancers.”

Robot-assisted bronchoscopy is one of many tools used by the lung cancer team at Ascension Providence.

“This technology gives us the ability to biopsy patients who could potentially have lung cancer, but have smaller nodules, meaning they were previously unable to be biopsied safely through bronchoscopy.

Now, we’re able to bring many of these patients back sooner and provide them with a diagnosis and treatment plan,” said Dr. Maydee Rosario-Reglero, a pulmonologist at Ascension Providence.

“We’re excited to be able to provide this potentially life-saving technology to our community.

”Previously, when a patient met the clinical criteria and required a biopsy of a nodule on the lungs, doctors were not able to reliably biopsy the nodule through a bronchoscopy if it was less than 2 centimeters, meaning the patient would need to either return at a later date to see if the nodule had grown or undergo lung resection without an established diagnosis.