Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Braselton recently became the region’s first hospital to offer a new minimally invasive diagnostic technology for patients with pulmonary nodules that are suspicious for lung cancer. Dr. Kimtuyen Nguyen, a physician with Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists of Northeast Georgia, PC, performed the hospital’s first navigational bronchoscopy last week.
Lung cancer causes more deaths in the U.S. than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Fortunately, patients in the area now have access to the most advanced lung cancer detection services, thanks to funding provided by the Medical Center Foundation’s campaign for NGMC Braselton. Through the new lung navigation system, which allows easier access for sampling of suspicious lung lesions, NGMC hopes to further improve both patient outcomes and lung cancer survival rates.
“We are excited to be at the front line of lung cancer diagnosis and management,” says Dr. Nguyen. “This minimally invasive technology can be used to diagnose and stage lung cancer at the same time, while also advancing our ability to localize and treat the tumor with pinpoint precision.”
In the past, biopsies of suspicious tissue had to be obtained by going through the chest wall. This new technology allows for a much less invasive approach by utilizing a bronchial scope inserted through the mouth and down to the lungs, providing direct access to the biopsy area and eliminating the need to go through the chest wall. Additionally, the navigation system provides three-dimensional mapping to help pinpoint areas and place markers for better precision in treatment.
NGMC’s Cancer Services has been a leader in lung cancer screening and treatment since launching its Lung Cancer Screening Program in 2016. As an American College of Radiology-designated Lung Cancer Screening Center, NGMC provides low-dose computed tomography (CT) screenings for patients who meet eligibility criteria identified by Medicare.
“Currently, the majority of lung cancers we see are diagnosed at a later stage – usually Stage 3 or 4,” says Jayme Carrico, executive director of Cancer Services at NGMC. “Our low-dose CT screening program – in combination with this lung navigation system – gives our physicians the tools to locate and diagnose lung cancers at earlier stages (compared to traditional methods), when treatment is most successful. In fact, when caught early, Stage 1 lung cancer can be cured.”
“We’re so thankful to the donors who made this funding possible,” says Chris Bray, president and chief development officer of the Medical Center Foundation. “We’re beyond thrilled to provide this advanced technology to our community and hope to directly impact survival rates for lung cancer patients in Georgia.”
NGMC’s expert physicians and clinical staff care for more than 2,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year through access points in Braselton, Gainesville, Toccoa and Winder. For more information about NGMC’s nationally recognized cancer services and physicians, visit nghs.com/cancer or call 770-219-8815.