Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Hospital introduces laser VATS

LUNG CANCER:The procedure allows doctors to locate a tumor in half an hour, ridding patients of the pain of repeated tumor localization procedures that can take hours

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A medical team at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital on Monday introduced its laser-induced video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for treating lung cancer — a more precise and painless way to remove early-stage tumors.

Lung cancer is on the rise in the nation, with the latest data from the Taiwan Cancer Registry showing that there were 12,462 new cases in 2014, up about 50 percent from the 8,393 cases reported a decade ago.

Lung cancer ranks second in the top 10 types of cancer in the nation.

Early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective method for reducing the cancer mortality rate, the hospital said, adding that low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the only scientifically proven method for screening lung cancer.

Chao Yin-kai (趙盈凱), a physician at the hospital’s thoracic surgery division, said that VATS — a minimally invasive surgical procedure — is the most common form of treatment for early-stage lung cancer.

However, tumors that are smaller than 1cm in length and more than 2cm in depth or demonstrate ground-glass opacity may be difficult to locate, Chao said.

To overcome the difficulty, the medical team developed the laser-induced VATS that allows physicians to locate a tumor in about 30 minutes and remove it, he said.

The procedure rids patients of the pain of repeated tumor localization procedures, which can take up to three or four hours, he added.

The hospital cited as an example the case of a 52-year-old man, surnamed Chuang (莊), who had been smoking about two packs of cigarettes a day since he was 17 and was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.

He had a relapse recently, with a CT scan finding two small tumors growing in his left lung.

The tumors were removed using the laser-induced VATS procedure and Chuang left the hospital after three days.

The team has performed laser-induced VATS on 30 patients, including 12 who had metastatic lung cancer, Chao said.

The average time to locate the tumors was about 30 minutes, he said.

Symptoms of early-stage lung cancer are usually not very clear, so long-term tobacco smokers, people with a family history of lung cancer, tuberculosis patients, and people who work in highly polluted environment are advised to get an LDCT regularly, Chao added.

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