Taking Lung Cancer Detection to the Next Level
Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) is providing a significant advancement in the field of pulmonary medicine and critical care. Rubal Patel, MD, a specialist in these areas, is now offering state-of-the-art robotic-assisted lung biopsies. This groundbreaking procedure revolutionizes early lung cancer detection, emphasizing the importance of early intervention.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, affecting both men and women. The five-year survival rate for all stages of non-small cell lung cancer, the most prevalent form of the disease, averages only 23 percent. Unfortunately, most cases of lung cancer are diagnosed after the cancer has already spread beyond its initial site; therefore, early detection is crucial as it significantly improves survival rates and outcomes.
This innovative procedure combines advanced technology with Dr. Patel’s expertise, addressing the challenges of performing biopsies on abnormalities detected in chest imaging, especially those situated deep within the lungs. These abnormalities are typically found in the outer third of the lung, in regions characterized by tight spaces and narrow airways, making them challenging to access.
Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows us to navigate an ultra-thin and very flexible tube with a camera at the end of it into the lungs to pinpoint suspicious nodules. The increased dexterity of the steerable tube makes it possible to reach areas of the lungs that we could not access before with standard bronchoscopes.”
Before the procedure, a chest CT scan is performed to generate a detailed 3D map of the airway, enabling the planning of a specific pathway to reach the target during the procedure. Patients derive significant advantages from this technology, as it offers a minimally invasive procedure without the need for incisions, resulting in a low risk of complications. This procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to swiftly return to their normal activities with minimal to no restrictions.
Dr. Patel practices with Southwell Medical in Tifton and serves as the Medical Director of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care at TRMC. She earned her medical degree from Saba University School of Medicine in the Netherlands-Antilles and completed residency and fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York.