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Life-saving procedure for some lung cancer patients at Franciscan Health

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A life-saving procedure for some local lung cancer patients is taking place at Franciscan Health. That particular disease is hard to survive, often because it’s hard to catch early.

Traditionally, there has been a challenge in biopsying small growths in the lung. Patients with an increased risk of developing lung cancer undergo a CT scan for screening. If cancer starts developing, it’s normally a very small and far-out spot on the lung. Before now, the approach was to follow that spot with repeat scans and make sure it doesn’t grow. Now, there’s a new procedure that uses robotic technology and allows doctors to probe hard-to-reach spots.

Dr. Faisal Khan is an interventional pulmonologist at Franciscan Health. He uses a device called the Auris Health Monarch Platform. It’s a controller-like interface, similar to a hand-held game, and gives the patient’s lung anatomy based on 3-D models. This procedure allows Dr. Khan more improved reach and vision during a bronchoscopic procedure.

“For a patient, what that means is you can access a suspicious looking spot on the lung very early on,” he said. “What this data shows is that, lung cancer, which is a high mortality just because it is normally diagnosed late in the state, if you diagnose it early on take care of it, then it has a huge impact on survival.”

More than 300 of these procedures have been performed at Franciscan Health Cancer Center. They were the first hospital in the state to deploy this system.

Currently, the hospital is part of a multicenter trial, which focuses on the outcomes of this procedure.