Early lung cancer detection performed at Valley Baptist

Posted by Samantha Powell on December 15th, 2013 |

News Headline: Early lung cancer detection performed at Valley Baptist
Outlet Full Name: Valley Morning Star
Author: Kayleigh Sommer


HARLINGEN — The first of many navigational bronchoscopy procedures for lung cancer have been done recently in Cameron County.

Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen pulmonologist Dr. Ricardo Martin Schwarz preformed the procedures that will help Rio Grande Valley lung cancer patients to be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is more effective.

“The new procedure allows for early detection of lung cancer, which can lead to curative treatment, and this is very exciting,” he said.

Schwarz preformed the new procedure on seven patients in the Endoscopy Lab at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.

During the procedure, doctors use a thin tube with a light to look inside the lungs.

With the tube and other instruments, the pulmonologist can retrieve small samples, which they can test and determine if the patient has cancer. The new super dimension technology at Valley Baptist works like a GPS road mapping system inside the lungs, helping doctors maneuver their instruments deeper within the lungs and to retrieve samples more easily.

Dr. Leslie Pean, a pulmonologist who assisted Schwarz in some of the procedures said, “This will help us locate cancer lesions. The smaller the lesion the better the prognosis. This will help us mark the site for potential follow-up surgery to remove the tumor.”

In some cases the new procedure can spare the patient from having to undergo surgery.

Todd Mann, chief executive officer for Valley Baptist- Harlingen said, “The new procedure will better diagnosis lung cancer and will benefit Valley patients by allowing more of them to remain in the Valley for treatment.”

Jacqueline Cavazos, RN, charge nurse for the Endoscopy Lab at Valley Baptist said, “Not having to go to Houston or other cities for these procedures will save time and money for Valley patients. Having their family support system on hand can lead to better outcomes for the patient in many cases.”


According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of 2010 there were 1,879 reported cases of lung and bronchus cancer in the Valley.

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