Nashville hospital repurposes Xbox controller to help detect lung cancer: 3 things to know

Nashville, Tenn.-based TriStar Centennial Medical Center recently debuted a new technology system that helps detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, according to WSMV News4.

Three things to know:

1. The system repurposes an Xbox controller and uses it to navigate a bronchoscope into a patient's lungs. The physician can use the controller for various functionalities, such as to look around the lung, suction and aspirate, according to Susan Garwood, MD, a pulmonologist at TriStar Centennial.

"If you think about an Xbox controller, it's ergonomically perfect for this," Dr. Garwood told WSMV News4. "Even those of us who aren't gamers can figure this out. It's a natural fit for your hands."

2. Dr. Garwood said physicians at TriStar Centennial used the modified device in 10 cases during the previous week, and had detected early lung cancer in four of those cases. TriStar Centennial said it is the only hospital in Tennessee using this technology system.

3. Early detection is particularly important for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths. More than 80 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer don't survive, in part because the disease often is identified at an advanced stage.

"When we can find lung cancer the size of a centimeter, like we can with this technology, the cure rate is 91 percent," Dr. Garwood told WSMV News4.

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