New procedure in Valley helps detect lung cancer earlier

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POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 4:49pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 8:14am

Navigational bronchoscopy: it's the newest and most innovative way to provide treatment for lung cancer. And Dr. Martin Schwarcz performed the first procedures in Cameron County at Valley Baptist Medical Center:

"We're just starting to do this procedure here, and so far we have had very good results in either diagnosing or ruling out cancers," said pulmonologist Dr. Schwarcz of Benchmark Pulmonary Center.

A navigational bronchoscopy is different from a normal bronchoscopy because it's less invasive, which means fewer complications for the patient.

"if in certain circumstances, you do a bronchoscopy and you're not able to get an answer, then you would have to go deeper, and one of those options is probably surgery," said pulmonologist Dr. Stanley Sy of Valley Baptist Medical Center.

"In this type of procedure that we do now, we are able to advance the camera from inside, and put a needle from inside with much less risk of complications," said Dr. Schwarcz.

This new "SuperDimension" technology works like a GPS and helps doctors to detect lung cancer earlier.

"At a certain point we start navigating into the patient's lungs with this, uh, this special device, GPS-type that I'm telling you and this allows us to reach very small little lesions that otherwise would be very difficult to reach," said Dr. Schwarcz.

While Dr. Schwarcz says refraining from smoking is the best way to prevent the disease all together. Navigational bronchoscopy is the next best thing because early detection could potentially save someone's life.

"So far we have done about seven or eight procedures and they have all done well," said Dr. Schwarcz. "We are expecting for the amount of procedures to grow. And we're gonna see eventually, an impact in early diagnoses and that is the whole plan behind this."

Reporting in Harlingen, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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