Diagnostic Technology

Breakthrough Technology in Lung Cancer Diagnostics

Halifax Health is the first area hospital to offer the latest breakthrough technology in early stage lung cancer diagnostics. The Veran SPiN Thoracic Navigation System allows the physician to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest stage, reaching lesions to biopsy in areas of the lung that traditional diagnostic technology cannot reach. This helps a patient avoid what is called “watchful waiting” – waiting to see growth in the lesion or development of symptoms that are indicative of cancer.

How the Veran’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation System Works

Veran’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation System utilizes electromagnetic technology (EMN). EMN is similar to the GPS in your car.

Veran’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation SystemThe technology uses the natural airways of your lungs as roadways. Using the data from your chest CT scans, the computer builds a 3D map.

A pathway to the nodule is planned by your physician. The physician then uses special instruments with tiny sensors in the tips to track their location while navigating to the lung nodule discovered in the screening process. The special instruments are then used to take biopsies of that nodule to determine if it is benign or cancer.

Patient Benefits:

  • Potential earlier diagnosis of lung cancer allows for earlier treatment
  • Earlier treatment is proven to increase survival rates to as high as 92%
  • Less anxiety than “Watchful Waiting”
  • Allows for diagnosing and staging lung cancer in one outpatient procedure

The readings of all biopsy samples are done by our in-house pathologist, providing a faster turnaround time for results.

Endobronchial Ultrasound

Another diagnostic option that the pulmonologist may use is called EBUS or Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy. This type of diagnostic procedure is used when the nodule or lesion are outside of the airways of the lungs or in the lymph nodes.

Up until now, the gold standard for lung cancer staging was mediastinoscopy, a surgical procedure. Now EBUS offers a minimally invasive solution that delivers equally reliable sample collection in the outpatient setting. EBUS uses a bronchoscope equipped with ultrasound capabilities to “see” beyond the walls of the airways and detect the precise location of lesions or lymph nodes. The lymph nodes can then be sampled using a needle. This technology provides visualization of the target lymph node and the needle so that the physician can visually guide the needle in real-time to the intended site to obtain the sample.

Overall, the diagnostic process is determined by the pulmonologist and is dependent on the location of the lesion or nodule at the time of consultation. In some cases, the pulmonologist may use both minimally invasive procedures.