Patients from Highland referred for suspected cancers of the lung and pleura currently have to travel to Glasgow or Aberdeen if they require a surgical biopsy.
However, thanks to a donation from the Friends of Raigmore, NHS Highland’s respiratory team is developing a medical thoracoscopy service which will allow an alternative procedure to be offered locally in Inverness.
The medical thoracoscopy service will allow biopsies from the lining of the lung to take place under local anaesthetic rather than a general anaesthetic without the need for patients to travel outwith their Board area providing a smoother and more efficient patient journey.
Dr Beth Sage, Respiratory Consultant with NHS Highland, said:
“Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the lining of the lung and most often occurs in elderly patients who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos.
“Currently it is difficult to diagnose mesothelioma and it often needs a biopsy, with patients travelling to Glasgow or Aberdeen, to prove it through a surgical biopsy that requires a general anaesthetic and a 2-3 day stay in hospital.
“Thanks to this donation we will soon be able to offer an alternative called a ‘medical local anaesthetic thoracoscopy’ that can be performed at Raigmore by the Respiratory Consultants.
“It is performed under local anaesthetic and sedation rather than a general anaesthetic and is therefore less risky for the patients.”
A small amount of additional training on the new equipment is required before the service can be set up but it is hoped it will be up and running after the summer.
Dr Sage added:
“We are delighted that this donation will allow us to offer this service to our patients.
“Their travel and length of time in hospital will be reduced and it will be a much more patient-centred pathway.
“Huge thanks to the Friends for this donation which is allowing us to set up this service.
“It is very much appreciated.”
Christina Cameron, Chair of the Friends of Raigmore, said:
“We’re delighted to hand over this piece of equipment which we know is going to bring great benefit to patients and reduce their need to travel outside of Highland for treatment.
“Our fundraising continues and we will now be supporting the Urology Team with a pilot programme which will allow men in Highland who are having their Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) monitored by regular blood test to receive these results via a secure App or Website rather than an individual phone call.”
The Friends are always open to more volunteers to join their group.
If you’d like to learn more you can contact them via Facebook or on 01463 705155.