New Mayo Clinic procedure gives hope to lung cancer patients


ROCHESTER, Minnesota —It’s the leading cancer killer in the United States, but a new procedure gives hope to lung cancer patients.

“It really gives people a definitive answer to the question, is this cancer or is this just something benign,” said Mayo Clinic Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Janani Reisenauer.

It’s a new method called robotic bronchoscopy. A small, remote-controlled scope acts as a GPS tool to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

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“This is an ultra-thin, ultra-thin, remote-controlled bronchoscope that can reach almost any nodule in the airway,” Reisenauer said.

Although it is now widely available, Mayo Clinic was one of the first hospitals to use the innovation. And unique to Mayo Clinic, Dr. Reisenauer works in a hybrid operating room — complete with a CT scanner where she can operate and perform biopsies at the same time.

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Mayo clinic

“Patients can be efficiently diagnosed, staged and treated in the same setting,” Reisenauer said. “That reduces travel to doctor’s offices, time, travel and missing work that we know is a major factor for Americans across the country right now.”

It brings hope for America’s deadliest cancer.

“I think what it’s going to do is drive awareness and a sense that we have options for patients that we didn’t have before to get the definitive diagnosis of cancer sooner,” Risenauer said. “And giving healing options because we got these answers before.”

November is lung cancer month.