Archbold offers breakthrough lung cancer treatment -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Archbold offers breakthrough lung cancer treatment

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A breakthrough new lung cancer treatment is available at Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville. It's the second hospital in the world to use the treatment. The one patient who has undergone this surgery so far says it's nothing short of a miracle.

64-year-old Glinda Hunter says she has a new lease on life. She recently became the first cancer patient in Georgia to undergo mesh brachytherapy surgery using the DaVinci robot. "My two sons they were like oh mama. What is this gonna mean? And I said it's gonna mean a miracle," said Hunter.

For many patients with stage one lung cancer, treatment options are severely limited. Poor pulmonary function and other health problems have prevented many patients from undergoing major surgery.

This new minimally invasive procedure dramatically lowers risk factors for both doctors and patients. Using the robot, surgeons can implant the isotope Cesium-131 directly into the affected area. "They operated on me like two o'clock on Thursday and Friday three o'clock I went home," said Hunter.

Radiation Oncologist Doctor Steve Johnson says the hardest part of his job is having to give a poor prognosis. "It really is a hard thing to do to talk to a patient and tell them they have a 20 to 30 percent cure rate and they're 60 years old. That's a very difficult conversation."

Johnson says without this surgical option, Hunter really could not have been treated. "We would have done a small radiation field with a much lower likelihood of controlling her tumor so we've given her a 90 percent chance of control versus a 30 percent."

Hunter says she was hesitant at first, but believed in her doctors. "I was afraid to have it. I thought wow I'm the first one to have this, but I believe in Dr. Johnson with all my heart."

Hunter says she recommends this surgery to everyone. She says it saved her time, saved her money, but most importantly, it saved her life.

Doctors say they soon plan to use this technique on many patients with lung, pelvic, and abdominal cancers.

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