Norfolk hospital expands lung cancer testing service

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney. - Credit: Evening News © 2009

A Norfolk hospital has expanded its capacity to diagnose more lung cancer cases by offering an outpatient service at weekends.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has begun offering the minimally invasive procedure to patients on Saturdays, in addition to weekdays.

Patients with suspected lung cancer have the investigation with an endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) bronchoscope, which is inserted through a patient's mouth and windpipe into the lungs enabling a biopsy while the patient is sedated. The investigation takes about 30 minutes and is carried out as a day procedure.

Ajay Kamath, consultant physician in respiratory medicine at NNUH, said: 'We have been using this technique for about two years and see about four patients a week on a dedicated EBUS list. The procedure is delivered by an experienced bronchoscopy team, working closely with radiologists and pathologists. Previously, patients would have had to travel to Cambridge for the procedure or have faced an invasive surgical operation under general anaesthetic, followed by a hospital stay. Our Saturday procedure list expands our capacity and offers patients more choice about appointment times.'

The NNUH team also provides the EBUS service for patients from the James Paget University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn. The service was started two years ago with a grant of £55,000 from Big C which enabled the NNUH to purchase its first EBUS bronchoscope. The hospital bought a second EBUS bronchoscope earlier this year.

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