Top lung cancer doc says new gear already making a difference

A TOP lung cancer doctor says an investment of £124k in highly sensitive camera and ultrasound gear is already speeding up diagnoses and allowing patients begin treatment earlier in the Western Trust.

Western Trust Respiratory Consultant, Dr Terence McManus, said new Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) at the South West Acute Hospital is already getting results.

He said: “The respiratory team is delighted to be able to offer this specialist service to our patients. The benefits of it were highlighted when we had a patient who was able to have her ultrasound test the same week as her consultation with me.

“This quick diagnosis meant that her treatment was able to be started earlier.”

The test involves patients having a flexible and highly-sensitive combined camera and ultrasound scope passed deep into the lung which detects lymph nodes as well as tumours outside the windpipe.

This allows these areas to be biopsied in order to diagnose the patient’s condition and in some cases to determine what stage the cancer is at. The 30 minute procedure allows a quicker and safer service for patients, and, in a significant number of cases, eliminates the need for general anaesthetic.

“Formerly patients may have required a general anaesthetic and carry the risk of a surgical procedure. Endobronchial ultrasound allows us to see small nodes and take tissue samples where necessary and it means patients can come into the unit, have the procedure, and go home later the same day,” explained Dr McManus.

“This is an exciting development in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer which will help us to ensure we are providing our patients with the treatment best tailored to their cancer.”

“It also allows us to diagnose other conditions in which lymph nodes within the chest are enlarged such as Sarcoidosis, Lymphoma and Tuberculosis,” he added.

Mr Joe Lusby, Deputy Chief Executive for the Western Trust said: “This development demonstrates how new technology can improve both patient experience and outcomes. The South West Acute Hospital is at the cutting edge of modern technological advancement and this state-of-the-art technique is ideal to be delivered from such a state-of-the-art hospital.”