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Trident Medical Center demonstrates new tool in lung cancer treatment arsenal

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 3:36 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:15 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Trident Medical Center revealed a new device that can help detect lung cancer in patients in earlier stages.

The hospital demonstrated the tool, called the robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, at its North Charleston campus on Thursday.

Stuart Lane is a lung cancer survivor who credits early detection for saving his life.

“I felt myself losing interest in all of my hobbies and stopped fishing,” Lane said. “Basically, it was me not having any energy, and this was caused by these tumors, so now, a year later, I have no shortness of breath. I’m working in the heat all day, get home in a great mood. I’m a new me. I’m Stu 2.0.”

Dr. Leslie Wilke, a pulmonologist, said the new tool will help detect pea-sized nodules inside a patient’s lungs.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association. South Carolina is 34th in the nation in lung cancer cases at an incidence of 63.2 cases per 100,000 population. The national average is 57.7 per 100,000.

The state ranks 34th of the 45 states for which data is available for lung cancer survival but is 28th out of 49 in early diagnosis.

South Carolina ranks 29th of the 50 states for lung cancer screening. Data from the American Lung Association shows screening with annual low-dose CT scans for those at high risk can reduce lung cancer death rates by up to 20%. Nationally, however, only 5.7% of patients at high risk were screened.

The state ranks 32nd out of 49 for surgery, which can successfully treat lung cancer if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread.

In terms of a lack of treatment, the state ranks 26th out of 49 states. In South Carolina, Black Americans are least likely to receive surgical treatment.

Lane added that by sharing his story, he hopes others will get tested regularly to help save their lives.

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