How robotic surgery is helping the fight against lung cancer

How robotic surgery is helping the fight against lung cancer

Recently, Providence leaders in thoracic care hosted a LinkedIn Live event to talk about the impact the Da Vinci robotic surgery technology has had on lung cancer treatments.

Included in the discussion from Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, WA, were Dr. Kimberly Costas, medical director for thoracic surgery and Dr. Luis Alberton, thoracic surgeon and clinical assistant professor at Washington State University School of Medicine.

Key data:

  • Lung cancer kills more than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer, but it's the number one cancer killer.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 228,000 new cases of lung cancer this year and 135,000 deaths from lung cancer alone.
  • Eighty-five percent of lung cancers are due to cigarette smoking. But there are other causes, such as environmental exposures, radon exposure or secondhand smoke. Sometimes, there's a correlation between first-degree relatives that have had lung cancer.
  • The best way to lower your lung cancer risk is to quit smoking if you're a current smoker. Just keep in mind, it does take seven to eight tries to really quit smoking. So don't give up if you've failed once or twice, or even five times.

Key takeaways on treatment innovation with Da Vinci robotic surgery:

  • Providence has a well-developed lung cancer screening program. Patients can be referred to the program by their primary care provider, or they can self-refer.
  • Robotic surgery allows surgeons to make smaller and less incisions which means less pain, risk of complications and downtime for the patient.
  • Because of the 3-D visualization, there are fewer issues for patients who have had chemotherapy or radiation prior to surgery, whereas before, these treatments would have made the operation more difficult.
  • The tools used during robotic surgery mimic the surgeon’s hand movements so it allows for human expertise and pinpoint accuracy.
  • There are several advantages of having a robotic surgery vs. open surgery. Since patients have less pain, they are able to go home sooner, use less narcotics and can resume normal activities more quickly. 

To watch the full discussion from the live event, see below.


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