Duval County

‘Let’s touch the cancer early so that we can save lives:’ HCA Memorial unveils cancer-fighting robot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer takes more lives each year than any other type of cancer.

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With National Lung Cancer Awareness Month now underway, HCA Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville unveiled its best and most innovative tool in the fight to detect lung cancer early: its robotic bronchoscope.

“This is the best technology we have to reach the spots that previously were thought only accessible through surgery, or in some cases, you know, a biopsy through outside the lung,” Dr. Irram Hamdani with HCA Memorial Hospital said. “If you get diagnosed in early stage localized cancer, your chances of survival at five years are almost 70 to 80%, compared to if you get diagnosed at later stages, unfortunately, so only about 15 to 18%.”

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The tool essentially works as a way to dive deep inside of patients’ lungs and look for possible cancer nodules.

On Wednesday, HCA Memorial Hospital allowed people to “test drive” the robot inside of a model lung. Deborah Stiffler, who’s in charge of Cardiovascular Services at HCA Memorial, said the technology takes practice to use properly, even for the professionals.

“The doctors actually go away for training so they’re able to practice,” Stiffler said.

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While this technology is important in saving lives, Stiffler outlined that the most vital step to survival is getting tested if you’re at risk of lung cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT for people who:

  • Have a 20-pack-year or more smoking history, and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Are between 50 and 80 years old

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