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Research Compares CT Scans And Chest X-Rays For Lung Cancer Screening

Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD, FRCS (C), FACS

Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD, FRCS (C), FACS

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that CT screening reduced deaths from lung cancer by 20%. While it may seem intuitive that screening would help to detect lung cancers and reduce deaths, until now, that had not been definitively proven.

“This is a landmark study,” said Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, who lauded the study’s design and its clear implications for treating patients at risk for lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, but the merits of screening — whether or not it actually improves patient outcomes – has been a topic of debate for the last 30 years. Dr. Gorenstein believes that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Cancer Patients: How Will Treatment Affect Other Aspects Of Health?

The death of Kara Kennedy, the only daughter of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, at age 51 from an apparent heart attack while exercising, was yet another tragedy for one of the country’s most prominent political families. It also offers a reminder of the possible long-term effects of cancer and its treatment.

In 2002, Kennedy was diagnosed with lung cancer that her doctors initially said was inoperable. Her father refused to accept that diagnosis, according to an article in the Boston Globe. He found doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who thought they could treat the cancer. They removed a portion of Ms. Kennedy’s right lung and then administered radiation and chemotherapy. She lived for another nine years, in apparently good health.

While the cause of Kennedy’s death has not yet been confirmed, the long-term effects of her lung cancer treatment could have played a role. Cancer survivors are often at increased risk of heart disease. That’s because the treatments used to fight cancer—drugs, radiation, and hormones—can damage the heart and arteries. (These are detailed in a Harvard Heart Letter article on cancer therapy and heart disease.)

If life were completely fair, cancer survivors would be exempt from future health problems. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

New Technology Enables Doctors To Diagnose Lung Nodules Without Surgery

Every year, a half million bronchoscopies are performed in the U.S. in order to investigate lesions within patients’ lungs. Because conventional bronchoscopy cannot reach the distant regions of the lungs, more invasive surgical procedures are often needed to diagnose lung nodules that may be malignant.

The General Thoracic Surgery Division at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia has begun using a new technology, superDimension Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy™ (ENB). ENB creates a computer-generated reconstruction of the lungs from a CT scan of the tracheobronchial tree, explains Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD, FRCS (C), FACS, Director, Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery. Using these reconstructed images, the system creates a visual pathway so that surgeons can guide steerable catheters to where lung nodules are located, facilitating examination and biopsy.

“This enables us to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

One Organ Donor, Seven Recipients

New York Times article highlights transplant donor and recipients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Organ Donation Checkbox

UK NHS Organ Donation Checkbox

As organ transplantation has advanced and improved in recent decades, more and more patients’ lives are saved every year. But the most pressing problem in organ transplantation has yet to be solved: the shortage of donor organs available to the thousands of people waiting on lists for a new kidney, liver, lung, heart, or other organ. People who intend to donate may not indicate their wishes to family members before their death, or families are reluctant to make that decision in the midst of profound grief and loss. For others, donating an organ was just never something they knew much about or even considered.

When they do choose to donate a loved one’s organs, families usually remain anonymous, as do those whose lives they save. Perhaps that is why articles like the one in the New York Times on May 16, 2011, touch and inspire readers so deeply. This version of an increasingly common story captures the essential soul-searching, as well as the profound gratitude, hope, and solace, that marked the meeting of Mirtala Garcia and the people who received her husband’s organs. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Surgeons Find Plastic Wendy’s Logo In Man’s Lung

Hamburger lung.jpgFrom today’s article by the always-interesting Sarah Avery at the News & Observer:

After several failed attempts to extract the item, Manley was referred to another doctor, who suggested removing the entire left lung. “I said, no, I wouldn’t be doing that,” Manley says.

That’s when he decided to seek a second opinion at Duke University Medical Center.

We’ve heard of “hot tub lung” and “popcorn lung” but my chest hurts just thinking about “jagged, fast-food implement lung.”

If this case does not make it into the New England Journal of Medicine, I will be disappointed.

Photo credit: Duke Hospitals via the News & Observer
Title quote: courtesy of Dr Momen Wahidi, director of interventional pulmonology at Duke

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

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