At Olathe Medical Center, lung cancer treatment specialists have developed a system to address the desire of patients and their families to schedule evaluations with several specialists, all in the fastest timeframe possible.
Thoracic Tumor Conference
The Thoracic Tumor Conference at Olathe Medical Center literally brings together in one room specialty physicians from areas such as oncology, radiation therapy, pulmonology, thoracic surgery, radiology, pathology and primary care. The physicians discuss each patient’s case individually, and the group draws from the expertise and experience of each specialist to develop the best possible treatment plan for the patient.
Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)
Physicians from Consultants in Pulmonary Medicine at Olathe Medical Center were the first doctors in the Kansas City area to use Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) to perform non-surgical biopsies of the chest when testing for lung cancer. EBUS provides significantly better accuracy and safety compared to previous lung biopsy methods.
EBUS-enabled biopsies are performed while the patient is sedated. No surgical incision or general anesthetic is necessary. The physician advances the EBUS scope into the lungs through the patient’s mouth. A small needle at the end of the EBUS scope collects tissue samples from the region surrounding the lungs. Using ultrasound guidance with EBUS helps the physician to pinpoint biopsy targets and steer the needle away from large blood vessels. The procedure may be performed in the Gastrointestinal (GI) Laboratory or in an operating suite.
“EBUS is a way to avoid unnecessary surgery in many patients with lung cancer, be it advanced or in its earliest stages,” said Dr. Dennis P. Lawlor. “The ultrasound clearly identifies the large lymph nodes, and allows better sampling with a simple needle puncture.”
Radiation oncologist Stephen R. Smalley, M.D. agrees. “This technology allows our pulmonologists to biopsy even smaller lesions, in more difficult locations, with greater precision and provide a greater level of safety to our patients.”
InReach System by SuperDimension
Physicians at Olathe Medical Center were the first in the area use the InReach System medical device that makes it possible to detect lung cancer much earlier than other methodologies and technology, enabling them to diagnose and develop treatment plans earlier. The InReach System is particularly effective in detecting hard-to-reach lung cancer lesions in hard-to-access regions of the lungs.
“We are able to make a diagnosis and decision about the treatment to pursue much earlier,” said Dr. Dennis Lawlor of Consultants in Pulmonolgy, “and, if you diagnose the disease before it spreads, you can substantially improve cure rates.”
Dr. Lawlor says the InReach technology combined with CT scan data creates a three-dimensional image of the lungs, creating a virtual roadmap. Physicians use the InReach System with standard bronchoscopes to reach the targeted lesion. It shows in real time how the scope is moving, and the physician can move through the person’s body and track it in real time.
Dr. Lawlor says the InReach System works well even for patients whose medical conditions don’t allow for higher-risk surgical procedures.
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