Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills has opened a new clinic to provide early diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of lung cancer. The new clinic is part of the Interventional Pulmonary Program at the hospital with advanced bronchoscopy.
“It can take weeks or months for a patient with an abnormal scan to come to the first diagnostic stage,” says Dr. Philip Kaplan, pulmonologist and medical director of the clinic, which is the fourth in the hospital system. “Our clinic’s state-of-the-art technology can dramatically accelerate the diagnostic process.”
Kaplan says the new clinic offers a robotic bronchoscopy that can study and collect biopsies on lung masses that are not accessible using traditional techniques. It has a flexible endoscope and provides doctors with continuous vision.
“Our robotic technology allows us to do a real-time evaluation inside the lung,” says Kaplan. “It aids in diagnosing early stage nodules that may be cancerous. It also can assist with placing lung markers for treatment.”
Causes of lung nodules include tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and sarcoidosis, an inflammation that affects multiple organs, most commonly the lungs and lymph nodes. Fungal infections have also been linked to the appearance of lung nodules. Kaplan says small nodules may require monitoring while larger ones could result in biopsies.
The clinic’s specialists include pulmonologists, oncologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists. They are also involved with the tumor board, which reviews individual cases and imaging studies, discusses alternate treatment options, and talk about clinical trials in which patients could participate.
Current smokers, especially those who have been smoking for many years, or people with a history of cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease are at a higher risk of lung nodules. It is recommended that they are screened annually.