New tool increases chance of accurate lung cancer diagnosis

Doctors at Jewish Hospital are the first in Kentucky to use the Monarch.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky has the highest number of lung cancer cases and deaths in the country, but more Americans are surviving the disease than ever — the nation’s five-year survival rate is 22%, a 13% improvement.

It can be hard to diagnose lung cancer early if people are not looking in the right places, but UofL’s Jewish Hospital has a new tool that’s helping change things.

Jewish Hospital is the first in Kentucky to use the Monarch. The robotic bronchoscopy is a lighted camera used to go look into airways.

This new technology gives doctors greater access to areas of lungs they couldn’t get to before, which is where cancer usually starts. Because of the Monarch, doctors are finding cancer they normally wouldn’t catch until it was later stage.

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Matthew Black talked about the success they saw using the Monarch on his first patient. While a positive cancer diagnosis is difficult, catching it early is always a positive.

“Fortunately, she’s early, she’s going to see one of my partners and he’s going to operate on her,” Black said. “She was a candidate for surgery, so we’ll be able to reply to her with a good outcome. That’s the positive note.”

With previous technology, doctors could provide an accurate lung cancer diagnosis up to 60% of the time in experienced hands, but with the Monarch, that increases to 90%. Black said it’s also the safer option.

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