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WMC Lung Cancer Program Achieves Two Firsts: Center of Excellence Designation, Robotic Biopsy

WMC Lung Cancer Program Achieves Two Firsts: Center of Excellence Designation, Robotic Biopsy

The GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer has recognized Winchester Medical Center’s thoracic oncology team for its commitment to providing patient-focused, coordinated and multidisciplinary care. Foundation representatives confirmed in November that WMC has been designated a Care Continuum Center of Excellence (CCCE), the first hospital in Virginia to earn that designation.

Valley Health’s lung cancer program has also achieved another significant first. WMC has expanded advanced diagnostic capabilities for lung cancer with the launch of robot-assisted bronchoscopy using Intuitive Surgical’s ION™ Endoluminal System. The interventional pulmonology team performed the first robotic bronchoscopy using the ION technology on November 12. WMC is the first facility in the Mid-Atlantic region to acquire the ION robotic platform. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the ION system earlier this year to enable minimally invasive biopsy in difficult-to-reach peripheral areas of the lung.

“We’ve been working steadily for the last few years to create a comprehensive, multidisciplinary patient-centered lung cancer program offering the most advanced technology for early and effective diagnosis, treatment, and support,” says Valley Health interventional pulmonologist T. Glen Bouder, MD.

“The ION system represents a significant advance in diagnostic bronchoscopy, particularly for finding lung cancer nodules,” Bouder explains. “It’s really amazing. We’re using a scope with a camera on it that can extend to the periphery of the lung, so we’re able to see things we’ve never seen before. It’s remarkable technology.”

Valley Health thoracic surgeon Shalini Reddy, MD, is equally excited to be engaged in a fast developing specialty. “A technologic revolution is quietly taking place in thoracic surgery, and nowhere is the influence of advances in science and technology more profound than in cancer care,” Dr. Reddy says. “Lung cancer and esophageal cancer are the two most dreaded thoracic cancers, and these advances have the potential to change their treatment immensely.”

Valley Health has one of the most comprehensive pulmonary/thoracic programs in the region for the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of lung cancer. Low dose CT lung screening is available at all Valley Health hospitals for adults with a history of smoking who are at high risk of lung cancer. The screening program has extended to include patients who have an incidental lung nodule found during routine or emergency imaging. Valley Health’s multidisciplinary Lung Nodule Clinic specializes in expediting the workup of patients with lung nodules or lesions and provides assessment and options for further testing and follow-up. The clinic’s team of pulmonary and thoracic specialists also includes physicians from specialties such as diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology and medical oncology.

Interventional pulmonary specialists at WMC use robot-assisted technology combined with endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) for diagnosis and staging in one procedure. This technology is also used to accurately mark lung lesions for more targeted radiation therapy as well as surgery. WMC’s thoracic specialists offer expertise in advanced surgical treatments including minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robot-assisted techniques using the da Vinci® XI™ Surgical System. Patients receiving lung cancer care at the Valley Health Cancer Center at WMC have access to a thoracic patient navigator who provides personalized support, information and resources. Patients also have access to treatment options such as advanced chemotherapy, radiation therapy and interventional radiology when indicated.

The GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer identifies hospitals that meet rigorous qualifying criteria and works closely with staff to ensure the highest quality of multidisciplinary care with a patient-centric approach. Meeting the criteria for Care Continuum Center of Excellence provides patients with access to the latest innovations across the lung cancer care continuum not typically found in community hospitals.

The GO2 Foundation is the result of a 2019 merger between the two nonprofit organizations serving the lung cancer community, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Lung Cancer Alliance.