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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Interventional pulmonology for lung cancer

interventional pulmonology

Interventional pulmonology for lung cancer

The Interventional Pulmonology Program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) addresses four primary areas:

  • Central airway obstruction: We use advanced techniques to locate and clear central airway obstructions. This helps you breathe more easily and fully. It also enhances your lung capacity, so you may receive the most aggressive lung cancer treatment regimen possible.
  • Advanced airway diagnostics: We use imaging technology to look for the cause of symptoms including wheezing, coughing and labored breathing. Our cancer doctors identify tumors, blockages or internal bleeding and use advanced lung cancer treatments to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
  • Pleural effusion: Many people with lung cancer accumulate excess fluid around the lungs, called pleural effusion. It can cause pain, shortness of breath and other complications. We use minimally invasive techniques to remove this fluid and restore more comfortable breathing. These techniques also help reduce the recurrence of excess fluid in the lungs.
  • Treatment-related side effects: Some lung cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, may cause scarring in the lungs. While we try to reduce these side effects, aggressive lung cancer treatment may cause unavoidable complications. We use certain interventional pulmonology procedures to treat your symptoms, and to distinguish between a side effect of treatment and the progression of the cancer.

Bronchoscopy procedures

The lung cancer team at CTCA®  is trained and experienced in delivering advanced, minimally invasive bronchoscopy techniques for many of our interventional pulmonology procedures. Bronchoscopy is a sophisticated technology that uses a flexible tube with a camera at the end (a bronchoscope) that allows us to look inside the lungs and airway.

We use the bronchoscope to deliver laser and other cancer-killing technologies to tumors buried deep inside the lungs. As a result, we can manage symptoms like bleeding or coughing, open up a blocked airway and treat a very early-stage lung cancer or a previously treated area.

Our lung cancer patients benefit from bronchoscopy procedures because they reduce the risks of more invasive treatments.

What is interventional pulmonology?

At CTCA, your team includes oncologists and pulmonologists who work together to tailor these lung cancer treatments to your specific needs. Interventional pulmonology techniques can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments to diagnose lung cancer, treat tumors and relieve symptoms that are limiting your breathing or causing pain.

Interventional pulmonology

Dr. Daniel Nader outlines the top 3 benefits of interventional pulmonology.

Diagnostic: Interventional pulmonology techniques are used to diagnose lung cancer. The two main procedures are:

  • Endoscopic bronchial ultrasound: A bronchoscope with an ultrasound probe is used to identify lymph nodes and masses outside of the airways. This scope allows for biopsies of these nodes or masses.
  • Navigational bronchoscopy: A technique in which a steerable catheter can be advanced through the bronchoscope and directed to masses that cannot be seen in the airway.

Therapeutic: Interventional pulmonology is used to treat patients without performing surgery.

  • Removing endoscopic bronchial tumors: A bronchoscope is a flexible tube with a camera at the end that is used to deliver laser and other cancer-killing technologies to tumors buried deep inside the lungs.
  • Placing fiducial markers: These tiny objects are placed in or near a tumor as a point of reference during stereotactic radiosurgery, a nonsurgical, highly precise form of radiation therapy.
  • Using airway stents: A stent is inserted to maintain an open airway and help patients breathe better.

Pleural disease management: Procedures are designed to treat patients with malignant pleural disease such as mesothelioma, metastatic cancer and connective tissue diseases.

  • Pleuroscopy: A type of endoscope called a pleuroscope is used to diagnose conditions of the pleura, the lining of the lung.
  • Pleurodesis: Patients with recurring pleural effusions, or fluid around the lungs, may undergo this procedure. Fluid is removed before a drug to close the pleural space is inserted through a chest tube.
  • Indwelling pleural catheter: This small tube is specially designed to drain fluid from around the lungs, which improves breathing in patients with malignant pleural effusion.