HealthWACH: GPS tracking lung cancer
Fri, 20 Dec 2013 03:00:00 GMT —
Lung cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably in one or both lungs. These abnormal formations may cause tumors that may prevent oxygen being transported to the body. There are two forms of lung cancer: primary and secondary. Primary lung cancer originates in the lungs and may travel to another part of the body. Secondary lung cancer occurs when cancer forms in another part of the body, then spreads to the lungs.
At times, symptoms for lung cancer may take years to develop. They may not even be noticed until the disease has progressed. Common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in voice
- Coughing up blood
- Intense coughing
- Coughing up mucus or phlegm
Rather than performing traditional needle biopsies, doctors are now turning to a new procedure. It is being described as a GPS system: electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB). It extends the reach of the bronchoscope to regions deep within the lung enabling doctors to locate small lung lesions for diagnostic testing and potential treatment. The system uses natural airway access, and implements proprietary software and electromagnetic technology. ENB is a less invasive procedure. It also provides the ability to detect lung disease and lung cancer earlier, even before symptoms are evident, enhancing treatment options for patients.