KGH to provide new specialist treatment for lung cancer patients

KGH has launched a new procedure which can provide quick relief for lung cancer patients without the need for a major operation.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 11:10 am
Dr George Tskanis and nurse Jayne Haycock carried out the first procedure at KGH earlier in November

The procedure uses a bronchoscope, a kind of tube with a camera and light inserted into the lungs, and then uses electricity to cut a tumour into pieces.

Respiratory consultant Dr George Tsaknis said: "Only a handful of respiratory centres in the UK provide this procedure in their respective endoscopy lists under sedation, and KGH is now one of them."

Patients will now not have to travel as far for the procedure, which is called electrosurgical bronchoscopic tumour debulking.

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Dr Tsaknis said: "The procedure is unusual. It involves the use of a high energy electric current with various instruments inserted into the patient's bronchial tubes through a flexible bronchoscope.

"The equipment is used to cut out and remove a major part, or even whole of, an obstructive tumour from the patient's airways."

It was performed for the first time at KGH on November 18 by Dr Tsaknis with the assistance of endoscopy staff nurse Jayne Haycock.

The tumour is cut up and removed piece by piece with an electrified loop of wire in the bronchoscope tube.

Dr Tsaknis added: "Most commonly, this procedure normally happens under general anaesthetic by a thoracic surgeon, but many patients are not medically well enough for a general anaesthetic.

"This new procedure offers an alternative because it enables patients to be sedated – but remain conscious - during the procedure, which lasts from 30-60 minutes depending on the complexity of the case."

The only alternative for lung cancer patients is a major operation at a specialist hospital. The nearest one for KGH patients is Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

The first patient to have the new procedure at KGH was a man with a large tumour obstructing his main bronchial tube, which was causing shortness of breath and wheezing.

He was unable to have a general anaesthetic but agreed to have this new procedure, which Dr Tsaknis said went very well.

"The gentleman had no complications and he was very pleased with the symptom relief," said Dr Tsaknis.

The new treatment will give symptom relief for at least 20 patients a year who would not be suitable for alternative operations.