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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Interventional pulmonology

What is interventional pulmonology?

Interventional pulmonology uses minimally invasive endoscopic procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the lungs and respiratory system, as well as related symptoms that cause discomfort (e.g., shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain).

The Interventional Pulmonology Program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) provides advanced treatments for:

  • Primary lung cancer
  • Cancers that metastasize to the lung
  • Airway obstruction (due to any abnormal growth)
  • Mediastinal and hilar adenopathy
  • Undiagnosed lung nodules and masses
  • Pleural diseases (including effusions or undiagnosed disease)
  • Bronchopleural fistulas
  • Pneumothoraces

Experienced care team

Our interventional pulmonologists specialize in performing advanced, minimally invasive interventional procedures in the airways and chest cavity, including advanced bronchoscopic and pleuroscopic techniques.

Our interventional pulmonologists work closely with your oncologists, pulmonologists, critical care physicians, thoracic surgeons and other experts in your care team to tailor treatments to your specific needs, help preserve more of your lung function, and reduce side effects.

Individualized treatment approach

Before you begin treatment, we’ll use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and procedures, such as the ones below, to accurately locate and stage the disease. Because each cancer type requires a different approach, your treatment plan will be based on your unique needs and treatment goals.

  • Endobronchial 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.

Our interventional pulmonologists use advanced, minimally invasive techniques to deliver treatments without performing surgery. Some examples include:

  • 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 secure an open airway and help patients breathe better.

Throughout your treatment, your interventional pulmonologist will monitor your progress and modify your treatment plan accordingly.

Improving quality of life

About 30 percent of lung cancers lead to obstruction of the airway, causing symptoms such as wheezing, respiratory failure and uncontrolled cough. Many people with lung cancer accumulate excess fluid around the lungs, called pleural effusion, which may cause pain, shortness of breath and other complications. Also, some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, may cause scarring in the lungs.

Not only do these symptoms impact your quality of life, they also may delay or interrupt your treatments. Our interventional pulmonologists use imaging technology to look for the cause of symptoms. Then, we use minimally invasive pulmonology techniques and procedures to remove obstructions in the airway, remove fluid around the lungs, and reduce symptoms that cause discomfort to help you breathe more comfortably.

Throughout your treatment, we’ll also provide integrative oncology services, like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, counseling and physical therapy, to help improve your quality of life.

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Interventional pulmonology