ETMC Tyler has purchased an autofluorescent bronchoscope to detect early signs of lung cancer. The OncoLIFE device replaces the plain, white light used in bronchoscopes with autofluorescent light. "Identifying abnormal tissue, even before it has become cancerous, could greatly increase survival rates for these patients," said Dan Perrine, director of pulmonary services at ETMC.
Pulmonologist David Gass says, "Technological limitations have kept us from early detection but this tool is more sensitive---it shows things we wouldn't normally be able to see with white light."
"Lung cancer screening lags behind other early detection programs like prostate exams and mammograms. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of early-stage lung cancer so most people don't know they have disease until it is advanced" said Todd Sigmon, vice president of the ETMC Cancer Institute. "Approximately 75 percent of lung cancer is diagnosed in stages two through four when it has already spread," Sigmon said. "Cancer treatment success is directly correlated to early diagnosis and we have not made great progress with early detection of lung disease."
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. In 2007 there were over 213,000 new cases of lung cancer in the United States. About 160,390 people died of this disease in 2007.