Health Beat - Winter 2017 - 11
HAVE A LUNG CONDITION?
Ask your doctor for a referral to Salina
pulmonologist Kent Berquist, M.D., or
call Salina Regional Pulmonology, Critical
Care and Sleep Medicine at 785-452-7325.
studies. These inflammatory conditions often can be effectively treated and cured with steroids.
Occasionally doctors see fungal and bacterial infections
that cause inflammation of the lung. Histoplasmosis, a form
of fungal infection, can usually be treated with antifungal
medications. Infections like tuberculosis are usually cleared
Cancer Staging and Molecular Study
Pulmonologist Kent Berquist, M.D., performs an
endobronchial ultrasound procedure at Salina Regional
The new EBUS system essentially uses a bronchoscope
fitted with an ultrasound device that allows real-time images
in and around the lung to be observed to identify difficult-toreach masses and surrounding lymph nodes.
"Endobronchial ultrasound allows us to visualize many
more lymph node stations within the chest and safely access
them," Berquist says. "We can see all of the vascular structures and more accurately collect a larger amount of tissue.
This gives pathologists an advantage when determining the
nature of a disease."
Before EBUS, it was common for surgeons to perform a
mediastinoscopy to investigate the chest to collect tissue from
the lymph nodes or to use an open surgery to collect biopsies.
Both required patients to undergo general anesthesia, and
the procedures were often challenging for doctors who had to
navigate the complex anatomy of the chest.
Benign Conditions of the Lung
Masses and inflammation seen on X-ray and CT scans are
not always caused by cancer. A condition called sarcoidosis,
which is an inflammatory disease of the lungs and lymph
glands in the chest, can look similar to cancer on imaging
When lung cancer is present, oncologists need to know what
type of cancer it is and whether it has spread to the lymph
nodes or surrounding organs. EBUS allows for definitive diagnosis of lung cancer and is helpful in staging the disease and
determining which form of lung cancer is present.
Localized cancers can often be surgically removed, and a
number of lung cancers can be treated with targeted chemotherapies. These treatments attack only cancer-causing cells
and spare normal, healthy cells.
There are also several immunotherapy treatment options
available today for specific lung cancers. Immunotherapy
boosts the body's immune system and helps it recognize and
battle cancer cells.
"We've had many advancements in lung cancer treatment
in recent years with more targeted treatments and immunotherapy," says Muhammad Ahmed, M.D., a medical oncologist
at Salina Regional's Tammy Walker Cancer Center. "We have
many patients whose length of survival has at least doubled,
and we now have a number of patients who have lived with
lung cancer for many years."
More accurate diagnostics, staging and molecular-level study
can make a huge difference in creating the right treatment
plan, Ahmed adds. That's where EBUS comes in.
"We may not have a cure for lung cancer, but we may
soon be coming upon an era where we can manage the
disease-similar to the way we do for diabetes and heart
disease-where patients can live long, productive lives." 1
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Beat - Winter 2017
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