and Medicine for Seniors
Lung Cancer Diagnosis Tool Found Safe, Effective for
Correct assessment of the stage of a patient's cancer
how much tumor has grown and spread is key to ensuring they receive
the right treatment
4, 2014 - Half of all lung cancer patients are over 70 years old when
first diagnosed, but studies have shown that these older patients are
less likely to receive an accurate diagnosis. A recent study has found
that a procedure to take tissue samples from these patients can be used
safely in the elderly - allowing doctors to make a more accurate
diagnosis and to choose appropriate treatment.
A correct assessment of the stage of a patient's
disease how much their tumor has grown and spread is key to ensuring
they receive the right treatment.
Non-invasive methods of checking whether a
patient's cancer has spread to their lymph nodes have limited
sensitivity and until recently the only way to obtain a tissue sample
was under general anesthetic limiting its use in elderly patients who
often present with other conditions that may restrict the use of general
Now researchers at University Hospital of South
Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester part
of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre have looked at a newer
technique: endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle
This method is carried out under sedation while the
patient is still conscious and uses ultrasound to guide a sampling
needle down and through the airways of the lungs.
Dr Richard Booton, Consultant Respiratory Physician
at the North West Lung Centre and senior lecturer at the University's
Institute of Inflammation and Repair, who led the study, said, "We
wanted to see if there were any differences between patients aged less
than 70 years old and those older than 70, in terms of both the safety
of the technique and how useful it was for diagnosis."
The team recently published their results in the
Journal of Thoracic Oncology and found that the procedure was
well tolerated at all ages even in those patients aged over 80 years
old. They also showed that EBUS-TBNA is effective for assessing whether
a patient's tumor had spread to the lymph nodes.
"Being able to safely take tissue samples will also
allow us to test for specific tumor sub-types and better decide the most
appropriate treatment for each individual patient," added Dr Booton.