New robot at St. Joseph’s/Candler could help catch lung cancer early

Health News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Doctors at St. Joseph’s/Candler say lung cancer patients have a better chance of survival thanks to new robotic technology.

Auris Health’s Monarch Platform — or “the Monarch robot” — allows physicians to detect and diagnose the disease earlier. SJ/C says the technology is non-invasive and results in improved patient outcomes.

“The patient that we worked with this morning has underlying lung disease — smokers lung disease — it’s very severe,” explained Dr. Michael Mullins, a pulmonologist at Candler Hospital.

Guiding the Monarch with a remote controller, Mullins can enter through the patient’s natural openings, sparing him from a surgery he likely wouldn’t survive.

The robot allows deeper access into the lungs than a traditional bronchoscope.

“Our goal today with the robot is to go in and put markers very precisely into the tumor,” Mullins said.

The markers allow doctors to target radiation directly at the tumor — a treatment that will happen in a few weeks.

“We’re only killing the tumor, we’re not killing lung,” said Mullins. “And that’s the idea here, is we want to keep as much lung function for him as we can.”

Mullins says the technology means he can give a patient more information on their diagnosis, and most of all, hope for survival.

“You can go into the room and deliver hard news to a patient with a bright complexion and say, you know, ‘This is what you have, but we’re going to beat it. We have what we need,'” the pulmonologist said.

Mary Grassi says when she went through this procedure, it put her at ease.

“I put it in their hands and in God’s hands, and I feel like I’m going to come out on top,” the patient said.

For now, SJ/C is using the Monarch to put in markers and diagnose cancer at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion. Doctors say in the future, it will be used to treat the disease.

For more information on surgical or cancer services, call SJ/C at 912-819-5704.

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