For the first time ever at Bay Medical Center Cardiothoracic Surgeons are able to use the word "cure" when talking to their lung cancer patients.
A new technology works to detect lung cancer earlier than ever before and Bay Medical Sacred Heart is one of two hospitals in the state of Florida with the technology and it's already changing lives here in Bay County.
Wednesday the hospital announced they are now using the Veran SPiN Drive System. To help make the announcement lung cancer survivor, Carol Forehand, spoke on how the technology helped save her life, "Well I just live everyday to the Fullest and enjoy the little things in life." She took pictures with her doctors that worked to discover her cancer before Forehand ever knew something was wrong, "I would have never thought about my lungs. I mean I was breathing good and I had no symptoms. So that could have gone on for a couple years." If she had waited until her symptoms were present, her chances at a cure would be very unlikely.
Dr. Reed Finney, M.D. Cardiothoracic Surgeon speaks about the likelihood of removing cancer by surgery in later stages of lung cancer, "Stage three or four generally surgery is not an option and so the chance of cure is much much less." Once cancer spreads to ones lymph nodes more invasive methods of cancer removal are required.
This is what makes a chance at a cure possible; the Veran Spin Drive does just that. According to MD Finney, "We approach these nodules through small catheters with sensors on their tips and biopsy these nodules the size of an eraser tip."
Before this technology was available a bronchoscope was used to discover lung cancer. It required a golf ball size incision and due to its size couldn't reach small cancerous areas within the lung. MD Finney, "We can drive the small catheter with the sensors on the tips in the operating room to the precise spot that has been identified."
By pressing a lever the catheter responds, a tiny claw then grabs a piece of the nodule and in return gives the patient a chance at a "cure." Mrs. Forehand was fortunate Bay Medical offered her this innovative technology, "I didn't have to wait a couple of years for symptom to appear."
Her doctor Finney expresses the importance of early detection and survival rate, "If they are diagnosed at an earlier stage, stage one then upwards of eighty percent are alive at five years."
That percentage is one Mrs. Forehand can proudly count herself apart of, "I'm going to be one of those eighty percent survivors, you know, you've got to feel good about that."
Bay Medical Sacred Heart is looking to share this technology and cure more people suffering from early stages of lung cancer. They will host screenings for at risk people in the coming months but have yet to release those date.