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Catch it faster: New technology at Banner MD Anderson helps fight lung cancer

Robotic bronchoscopy at Banner Boswell detects cancerous nodules sooner

SUN CITY, Ariz. (June 14, 2022) – A new innovation that can provide minimally invasive, robotic-assisted biopsies for suspected lung cancers is now available at Banner MD Anderson Cancer at Banner Boswell Medical Center.

The hospital is the first in metro Phoenix’s West Valley to offer this innovation.

Unveiled today, the robot-assisted bronchoscopy platform offers physicians a way to perform minimally invasive biopsies in the outer areas/deeper parts of the lung(s), which are not easily accessible by conventional bronchoscopy.

Using an ultra-thin catheter, the platform allows a real-time look into areas of the lungs that can be first affected by cancerous cells. It is highly maneuverable and able to pass around tight turns to reach far branches of the lungs.

Detection of these cancerous cells can be critical in the successful treatment of lung cancer, which is by far the leading cause of cancer death. Lung cancer often isn’t found until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. In fact, about 60% of newly diagnosed lung cancer patients are late stage, which can make them ineligible for surgery, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“We are grateful to a caring community for donations through Sun Health Foundation that are essential to funding this new robotic technology,” says Gina W. Ore, chief philanthropy officer with Sun Health Foundation. “How reassuring it is to know this advancement in care doesn’t have to wait; it’s available now for patients to strengthen the fight against lung cancer and other diseases.”

The decision to use the technology is especially helpful because in desert communities such as Phoenix, Valley Fever, (aka Coccidioides) a fungal infection that affects the lungs, can present with the same symptoms as lung cancer.

“Valley Fever is a great mimicker of lung cancer. With this new technology, we can biopsy spots in difficult parts in the lungs and confirm the diagnosis. It allows us to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and to provide our patients with the most effective guideline consistent therapies as soon as possible," said Dr. Archan Shah, interventional pulmonologist at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at Banner Boswell Medical Center.

Dr. Shah states this technology could complement Banner MD Anderson’s lung cancer screening program. Less than 5% of high-risk/eligible patients are screened for lung cancer; in comparison, almost 70% are screened for colon cancer, according to the NIH.

Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. 

About Banner Boswell Medical Center

Banner Boswell Medical Center specializes in heart care, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, physical rehabilitation, stroke care, skilled nursing and emergency care. Banner Boswell is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 28 hospitals in six states. Banner Boswell’s high-performing team has achieved many recognitions including five Top 100 Hospital awards and eight Top 50 Cardiovascular awards from Truven Health Analytics. Supporting Banner Boswell’s mission of excellent patient care is Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance health care delivery. For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook at

About Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center delivers cancer care to patients through the partnership of Banner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit

About Sun Health Foundation

Sun Health Foundation champions superior health and wellbeing through philanthropy, inspired living and wellness programs. For more than 50 years, the community – through Sun Health Foundation – has invested in the infrastructure, programs, skilled professionals, and innovations that make the West Valley the premier place for active, independent living. Sun Health Foundation is the exclusive philanthropic partner for Banner Boswell and Banner Del E. Webb medical centers. Learn more at

Banner Boswell Medical Center Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center Cancer Innovation

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