Ascension St. Vincent's leader in lung care for Northeast Florida

After 34 years as a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, Eddie Swain was used to life on the move. When an X-ray detected an abnormal growth in his lung last year, the news stopped him in his tracks.

Swain turned to Ascension St. Vincent’s where doctors are utilizing robotic-assisted technology to help detect lung cancer earlier than previously possible. The Ion robotic-assisted bronchoscopy utilizes minimally-invasive technology that improves accuracy and precision of the biopsy of a potentially cancerous nodule in the lungs. Ascension St. Vincent’s was the first in Northeast Florida to begin using the Ion device.

With this technology, doctors can biopsy nodules as small as one centimeter, or about the size of a pea, potentially diagnosing lung cancer earlier. They can also investigate nodules in hard-to-reach areas that may have previously required CT scan-guided biopsies which can have significant complications.

The minimally-invasive approach also meant Swain experienced less pain and had a quicker recovery from the procedure.

Dr. Abubakr Bajwa, a pulmonologist at Ascension St. Vincent’s, said the latest statistics show that more people in the U.S. die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer.

“Part of this is because it is often diagnosed at a later stage than some other cancers. This technology gives us the opportunity to reliably biopsy and diagnose lung cancer in a suspicious nodule detected by low-dose CT scan performed for lung cancer screening.”

During their first year using this technology, pulmonologists at Ascension St. Vincent’s have performed more than 100 biopsies.

Swain is grateful that his biopsy caught his lung cancer early before it could spread. After undergoing surgery to remove the upper left lobe of his lung, Swain is back to keeping in step with life and enjoying his retirement.

For more information on Ion robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, call 904-308-6900.