Press Release

IU Health Arnett adds new tool to make finding and treating lung cancer faster, easier—and earlier

May 21, 2024

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths, and it often advances undetected.

Lafayette, Ind. – Indiana University Health Arnett has added a revolutionary new tool in the fight against lung cancer.

The ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy tool allows for minimally invasive detection and treatment of lung cancer at earlier stages than ever before, drastically improving outcomes for patients.

How an ION Robotic bronchoscopy is better

Historically, a computed tomography (CT) scan has been the tool of choice in identifying masses or “spots” on the lungs (referred to as lung nodules).

“Frustratingly, this imaging doesn’t always tell us what these spots are, and when the nodules are small, they are extremely difficult or even impossible to biopsy with a traditional bronchoscopy,” says IU Health Arnett Critical Care pulmonologist Mehboob Kalani, MD. “When I put myself in the patient’s shoes and imagine what it must be like to hear that there are areas of concern on my lungs but no way to identify or treat it until it grows…that’s scary.”

The ION tool, on the other hand, allows physicians to diagnose and treat lung cancer at its earliest and smallest stages, even in the farthest peripheries of the lungs, drastically improving the patient experience and outcomes.

Benefits of this new tool include:

• Reduced timelines: The time from diagnosis to surgical treatment will be reduced from a matter of weeks to a matter of hours.

• Better accuracy: Diagnostic accuracy with the ION tool is as high as 93%, with the ability to reach further into the peripheral lungs.

• Fewer complications: The ION tool has a 30% lower complication rate than a CT-guided biopsy.

• Quicker recovery: Fewer visits and less invasive treatments mean patients are back to their daily lives sooner and with less pain.

Why it matters

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women—taking more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined and accounting for nearly one quarter of all cancer deaths.

Early detection of lung cancer greatly improves the odds of survival. Early screening matters, too, because patients with early-stage lung cancer typically don’t have any signs or symptoms, allowing the cancer to progress otherwise undetected until it’s at a more advanced stage.

“This new tool will allow us to better detect, stage and treat lung cancer while it is still in the early stages and before it has the chance to grow and spread,” says Kalani. “This will absolutely make a difference in the lives and lung health of our community.”

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