LUNG CANCER

Robotic Technology Helps Denton Man Beat Lung Cancer

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States.

It's often found too late and difficult to treat, but now new technology in North Texas, is giving patients the upper hand on the disease and in some cases, it can cure them in less than a day.

Whether a dip in the pool or a workout in the gym, life as a retiree for 85-year-old Jere Bone is active and comfortably predictable.

What he didn't predict was what doctors told him during a recent visit.

"I was getting ready to leave and the doctor said, 'oh, by the way, has anyone mentioned that spot in your lung that looks like a might be a tumor?'" said Bone.

He went to Interventional Pulmonologist Dr. Crescens Pellecchia at Medical City Plano.

Dr. Pellecchia said in most cases of suspected early-stage lung cancer, they'd have to wait until the tumor is big enough to perform a biopsy, but now, robotic technology changes that.

During a minimally invasive procedure, Pellecchia is able to get a sample of the tumor, once too small to biopsy.

"What that technology has allowed us to do is to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer, which is a complete gamechanger for our industry."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women.

Usually, symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage.

Even when lung cancer does cause symptoms, many people may mistake them for other problems, such as an infection or long-term effects from smoking.

With robotic technology, Pellecchia said patients can be treated earlier than ever before, increasing their chances of survival.

In some cases, the robot can help cure a patient in one day.

Minutes after Pellecchia removed a tissue sample from the legion in Bone's lung and a biopsy determined it was cancerous, surgeons moved in and removed it.

Bone woke up from the hour-long procedure as a cancer-free man.

"That is something that almost no one does and you wouldn't be able to do without this technology," said Pellecchia.

"I'm so blessed because everything was done right then and there and three days in the hospital, I'm home and I'm cured!" said Bone.

Screening is the use of tests or exams to find a disease in people who don’t have symptoms.

The American Cancer Society has screening guidelines here.

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