'We believe that we've taken a significant step': Hartlepool hospital trust team claims cancer treatment success

A medical team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust believe they have developed an improved method for the early diagnosis of lung cancer.

By Tom Patterson
Thursday, 20 June, 2019, 11:58
The Respiratory Team at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Dr Vandana Jeebun, consultant respiratory physician at the University Hospital of North Tees, says they have developed a safe and relatively non-invasive way to diagnose early lung cancer – improving both treatment options and the potential for cure.

Multimodally-directed ultra-slim bronchoscopy is a combination of different techniques diagnostic techniques.

One of the issues has been difficulty in confirming a diagnosis when the cancer is small and before it has had a chance to spread.

Since the new method was developed last year, it has shown a high diagnostic accuracy for some small cancers – 40% higher than traditional techniques.

Dr Jeebun said: “Patients often undergo scans for various reasons and it's not uncommon to detect suspicious abnormalities, which in many cases represent early lung cancers. These are often small areas which are inaccessible to a standard bronchoscope. Without a diagnosis, patients are left with uncertainty and definitive treatment plans cannot be made.

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“Until now, options have included a re-scan, a CT- guided biopsy or surgical removal. The latter two can carry a high risk for patients, especially those with pre-existing health problems. The former has the stress of waiting for a clear diagnosis.

“This method innovatively combines a number of technologies to confirm the location of an abnormal lung lesion and facilitate accurate sampling.”

Dr Jeebun added: "The service was only set up six months ago and early results have been very encouraging.

“We believe that we've taken a significant step toward improving early lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.