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Medical Center of Central Georgia Announces Lung Cancer Disease Site Team | Health

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Medical Center of Central Georgia Announces Lung Cancer Disease Site Team
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To better serve the residents of Central and South Georgia, The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) has created The Lung Cancer Disease Site Team. This multidisciplinary group of physicians is focused on assessing, planning, monitoring and coordinating the delivery of lung cancer care services to MCCG patients. Each physician involved in the team brings a unique body of knowledge and expertise to the process. The sharing of information and ideas results in a coordinated and comprehensive care plan for patients with input from all specialties. The multidisciplinary team includes lung cancer surgeons, general surgeons, pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, primary care physicians and other health care providers.

An incentive for the creation of this team was to decrease the time to definitive diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately reduce the number of late stage lung cancer diagnoses. 75 percent of newly diagnosed patients have late-stage lung cancer, meaning their five-year survival rate is a meager 15 percent. Early diagnosis and treatment offer hope, as patients with Stage I diagnosis have an 88-percent survival rate in 10 years.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is responsible for more deaths than any other cancer and is the second leading cause of death in this country. Approximately 160,000 people died in 2009 because of this disease, which kills more than breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. Last year, there were 6,150 new cases and 4,660 deaths caused by lung cancer in Georgia.

MCCG has invested in critical facilities and technologies required to establish state-of-the-art programs to assist with earlier diagnosis and treatment. The Endobronchial ultrasound (EBus) and superDimension® Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy system (ENB) are new technologies available to lung cancer patients. The first superDimension® ENB procedure at MCCG was done on Friday, Oct. 29.

“EBUS and superDimension® will allow us to get an earlier diagnosis of peripheral lung lesions and also help detect earlier in the staging of lung cancer,” said Dr. Mark Hendrick, pulmonologist, vice chair of The Lung Cancer Disease Site Team. “These new technologies will allow us to do this in a less-invasive manner than in the past.”

EBUS uses an innovative scope design that enables physicians to visualize lymph nodes and surrounding vessels in real-time, via ultrasound, while simultaneously viewing the endoscopic image. This system makes biopsies safer and more accurate than conventional methods. The ENB procedure combines GPS-like technology with a catheter-based system that uses the patient’s natural airways to access lesions that were previously hard to reach. This procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting.

“The ENB procedure will provide us with a better idea of what is on the lung and it could assist us as we consider surgery,” said Dr. Pete Bolan, a cardiovascular surgeon. “We are pleased to offer a minimally-invasive alternative for patients who have a lesion on their lung that is hard to reach or cannot tolerate a more invasive procedure. This is an option that will help many patients.”

For more information, view 13WMAZ's Cancer Resource Guide.

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