A lung cancer patient at a London hospital has become the first in the world to receive a new surgical treatment that doesn’t involve making a cut.
Currently, lung cancer surgery involves puncturing the lung through the skin and muscle. This can be painful for patients.
This new procedure uses software to create a 3D map of the affected lung. This is then used to guide the surgeon as they pass a catheter through the patient’s mouth and airways in order to reach the tumour. A targeted dose of microwave energy is then administered directly to the tumour – all without making a cut.
Kelvin Lau, consultant and lead for thoracic surgery at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London, performed the ground-breaking procedure:
“This heralds a new era where more patients can potentially be cured for this lung cancer. Currently, one in five patients with potentially curable lung cancer are not fit enough to undergo the standard treatment of operation or radiotherapy, but we can now treat these patients using navigational bronchoscopy. I am absolutely delighted.”
Navigational bronchoscopy allows us to safely and painlessly reach the tumour, without using cuts or needles, or needing to puncture the lungs.”
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, shares Mr Lau’s delight:
“This is an incredible step forward in curative treatment of lung cancer.
“As we know, lung cancer survival rates, whilst improving, remain significantly behind other cancers due to too many people being diagnosed at late stage.
“It is even more tragic when a person’s cancer is caught early but their current health means they are denied the chance of curative treatment. This pioneering new treatment could be the difference between life and death.”