Lung Cancer: Fighting an Old Nemesis with Improved Technology
The Country’s experts discuss advances in thoracic surgery and the Minimally Invasive option that provides better patient outcomes.
Manila, Philippines, – According to the Department of Health, lung cancer is responsible for the most number of malignancy-related deaths in the Country, and is showing no signs of relenting. In the last three decades, however, new technologies are offering healthcare practitioners options for greater accuracy, cost efficiency and overall, better outcomes for patients in the treatment of the disease. In line with its mission to provide quality health care through state-of-the-art facilities for Filipinos, the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) hosted a symposium to discuss the state of the disease in the Country, and the latest treatments available.
Featuring presentations and panel discussions from experts that included Dr. Jose Luis J. Danguilan, Dr. Rey A. Desales, Dr. Guillermo B. Barroa, Jr., Dr. Camilo C. Pada, Dr. Antonio B. Ramos, and Dr. Edmund Villaroman, founding members of the Philippine Association of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgeons (PAMITS), and Dr. Jun Paul Castolo, it was highlighted that while lung surgery has typically been performed using open procedures, the choice is increasingly becoming video-assisted thoracic surgery or VATS.
VATS is primarily utilized to treat conditions such as cancer, pneumothorax, infection, cysts and other thoracic disorders. Research has shown that VATS provides patients with significant benefits that includes minimizing surgical and health risks, allowing a speedier recovery with less scarring, less pain, and less complications.
Benefits of VATS
While conventional thoracic surgery makes use of a large incision and requires rib spreading or breastbone splitting, VATS requires only small incisions and the guidance of a high-resolution camera. Due to the minimal trauma, this procedure has shown to significantly reduce the complication rate during and after surgery, and blood loss volume. VATS-treated patients also showed a markedly reduced recovery time as compared to open thoracotomy – a one to two day hospital stay, where patients of a typical open thoracotomy require stays of 7-10 days.
Because VATS avoids the large chest incision and rib-spreading associated with a traditional thoracotomy, patients also rarely suffer from chronic and severe chest pains during and after surgery. Given these benefits, VATS is finding an ever-increasing role in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of thoracic disorders, and not just in the field of lung cancer.
“VATS has undoubtedly been one of the most significant advances in thoracic surgery over the last few decades,” shares Dr. Danguilan, Director for the Lung Center of the Philippines. “Within a relatively short period of time, VATS has replaced many procedures previously performed by traditional thoracotomy, or the open surgery option, due to its immense benefits and we foresee that technological advances will only continue to allow more minimally invasive procedures to be developed in the near future,” he added.
Knowing if VATS is right for you
The best candidates for the VATS procedure are individuals diagnosed with early stages of lung cancer. Patients with non-cancerous ailments of the lung are also considered for the procedure.
“All potential candidates are required to undergo thorough medical history screening and pre-operative tests in order to determine suitability for the VATS treatment,” shares Dr. Danguilan. “All surgeries present risks and possibilities for complications. Only the surgeon can determine if a VATS procedure is right for a patient”, he asserts.
Today, surgery is considered as the only curative treatment for early-stage lung cancer patients. VATS lobectomy has widely established itself as a viable – if not a more preferred – surgical approach to open lobectomy. In many countries worldwide, VATS has been routinely performed for the majority of patients with early stage lung cancer since the mid-1990s.
“We at the Lung Center are continuously seeking advanced procedural solutions in thoracic surgery that help equip surgeons to improve clinical outcomes and to enhance the quality of life for our patients. We hope that the positive results of these cases will hopefully lead to a greater adoption of VATS in the Country, “concludes Dr. Danguilan.
Lung Center of the Philippines
The Lung Center of the Philippines is the country’s premier institution for lung and other chest diseases for both adult and pediatric patients, providing quality healthcare through excellent service, training, and research. The Center currently provides basic medical services as well as specialized treatment options for lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), drug-resistant tuberculosis, and diseases of the airway and the esophagus, to name a few. It has seven operating rooms (OR), and four specialty intensive care units (ICU). The Center has acquired state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and is continually improving services and equipment to keep attuned with its vision of providing affordable top-quality medical care to thousands of Filipinos who are suffering from chest diseases
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