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New 3D Navigation System Helps Dominican Hospital Doctors Identify Lung Cancer Sooner

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Community donations to the Dominican Hospital Foundation bring life-saving technology to Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ, CA (August 29, 2019) – A new 3D navigation system for lung tumors at Dignity Health Dominican Hospital helps doctors save lives by finding and treating early stage lung cancer sooner than previous technology allowed.

The new technology can help find cancers at stage 1—where the cure rate is at least 80 percent—compared to the average survival rate of just over one year by the time the cancer reaches stage 4.

“Dominican Hospital is the first facility in Santa Cruz County to offer this new, life-saving tool,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “It’s part of Dominican’s ongoing commitment to ensure that our community has access to leading-edge technologies and care.”

The lung biopsy navigation system generates a 3D roadmap of the lung and pathways to the tumor by incorporating CT scan images together with electromagnetic sensors, which are placed on the patient’s chest during the procedure. Utilizing advanced mapping software, physicians are able to follow the most accessible pathway through the airway to the lesion.

Typically, obtaining early stage lung tumor biopsies is challenging because significant dynamic movement occurs between breaths (inhalation and exhalation), making navigation to the correct airway difficult. This new technology uses respiratory gating to match the breathing so that instruments advance to the appropriate airways.

In addition to providing earlier diagnoses, the new system allows for curative treatment through tumor removal, ultimately saving lives. The mapping technology also can be used to place markers on small tumors, allowing surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery.

The system was funded through community donations to the Dominican Hospital Foundation. To learn more about cancer care at Dominican Hospital, visit


About Dominican Hospital

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for more than 75 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican Hospital offers a comprehensive, Baby-Friendly designated Birth Center, and provides an on-site Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) through a partnership with Stanford Children’s Health. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence. Dominican Hospital is planning a $360 million renovation and expansion to ensure that the growing Santa Cruz County community can access world class health care well into the future. The project will allow for advanced technology, new state-of-the-art facilities, and even more innovative healing spaces.

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Publish date: 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Media Contact

Christine McMurry, Director of External Communications

p: (415) 250-4440

[email protected]