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New 3-D Technology to Aid Cancer Diagnosis

By Justina Reichel
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 15, 2013 Last Updated: January 15, 2013
Related articles: Canada » National
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Dr. Stephen Lam and Dr. Annette McWilliams map out a patient’s bronchoscopy using a new 3-D lung navigation system, the first of its kind ever used in Canada. (Courtesy BC Cancer Foundation)

Dr. Stephen Lam and Dr. Annette McWilliams map out a patient’s bronchoscopy using a new 3-D lung navigation system, the first of its kind ever used in Canada. (Courtesy BC Cancer Foundation)

A first-in-Canada virtual 3-D lung navigation system will enhance diagnosis, staging, and care for lung cancer patients in British Columbia, the BC Cancer Foundation announced Tuesday. 

Lung cancer specialists at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre now have access to high-tech LungPoint equipment, the first of its kind ever used in Canada. 

“This technology acts as a GPS, providing clear turn-by-turn guidance through the patient’s lung, leading us directly to the tumour,” says Dr. Stephen Lam, chair of the Provincial Lung Tumour Group at the BC Cancer Agency. 

“This new system will improve the accuracy of bronchoscopy procedures from 30 to 80 percent for small lesions in the lung that are traditionally very difficult to biopsy.”

The technology works by converting two-dimensional images from a CT scan into three-dimensional graphics that guide the respirologist through a bronchoscope (video-equipped instrument inserted into the airways), directly to the suspect tumour. 

Previously, oncologists would refer to a two-dimensional image highlighting the tumour’s location from a patient’s CT scan. With the new three-dimensional images, care providers will also be better equipped to plan for radiation therapy and surgical procedures with specific markers indicating the cancer’s location.

The equipment was funded by BC Cancer Foundation donors, who provided $600,000 to acquire the new LungPoint system, in addition to other state-of-the-art equipment in the BC Cancer Agency’s newly renovated endoscopy suite.

“Lung cancer experts at the BC Cancer Agency identified a new technology that would truly enhance patient care and BC Cancer Foundation donors answered that call ensuring patients continue to receive the best care possible,” said Douglas Nelson, president & CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation. 

“Their generosity will directly improve lung cancer detection and diagnosis in B.C.”

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