New system makes earlier diagnosis of lung cancer possible
A new navigation technology in use at some hospitals in the United States is making it possible for physicians to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, according to a release.

The technology – called superDimension/Bronchus System (SDBS) – was created by a developer of minimally-invasive diagnosis and treatment of lung disease tools named superDimension. The system operates like a global positioning system (GPS), allowing physicians to navigate to suspicious masses throughout the lungs in real time.
“SDBS offers a low-risk means of obtaining biopsies throughout the lungs and in the lymph nodes,” said Tom Gildea, MD, associate staff in the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine and Transplant Center at the Cleveland Clinic. “It improves upon earlier diagnostic and staging methods by combining the strengths of each method into a single procedure.”

SDBS is a minimally invasive procedure that enables physicians to biopsy and more accurately and earlier when it is easier to treat lung cancer. SDBS also provides access to the lymph nodes so staging determinations of malignant masses can be made, according to the release. 

The current most common treatment for the disease is standard bronchoscopy, but it is unable to reach the periphery of the lungs where two-thirds of masses are located. This makes it difficult to determine with precision if a mass is benign or malignant.