Fort Worth

Burleson Woman Beats Lung Cancer on Same Day She Is Diagnosed

Doctors in Fort Worth used robotic-assisted technology to confirm her lung cancer and remove it the same day

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Innovations in cancer treatment are saving lives every day and in one Burleson woman's case, technology helped her beat lung cancer the same day she was diagnosed.

April Boudreau, 61, knows the fight it takes to beat cancer.

She had survived two bouts with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the 80s and later beat breast cancer in 2002.

However, when scans revealed a concerning nodule on her right lung in January, she said she feared the worst.

"If the chemo doesn't kill you, the cancer does," said Boudreau. "It's just hard, very hard. It's not a good quality of life. I was ready to go see the world and come back and say goodbye."

She turned to Texas Health Fort Worth’s thoracic oncology program, which offered her an option she had not expected.

While under general anesthesia, they use robotic-assisted bronchoscopy technology to biopsy the nodule and confirm the cancer.

If it's in early stages, they can perform robotic minimally invasive surgery to remove the cancer while the patient is still asleep.

Boudreau awoke after surgery to learn that she did have lung cancer but that they were able to remove it and she was now cancer-free.

"I got to be here with my husband and my children and my grandchildren. I'm so lucky and very fortunate," she said.

Dr. Richard Vigness, thoracic cardiac surgeon at Texas Health Fort Worth, said robotic-assisted technology allows for the accelerated approach, which not only reduces the time between detection and surgical intervention but is also associated with a very low rate of complications.

Texas Health Fort Worth was one of the first hospitals in the state to adopt the new robotic-assisted technology to biopsy potential lung cancer tumors earlier than traditional diagnostic tests allow.

Vigness said the robotic-assisted thoracic surgery is done with very small incisions and patients are able to recover much more quickly than the classic surgical approach for lung cancer.

"They can they can get back to whatever they were doing within two or three weeks," said Vigness.

Boudreau gets a CT scan every six months and remains cancer-free.

She said she hopes others will pay attention to their body’s warning signs, see a doctor for concerns and take cancer screenings seriously.

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