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Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Redding Introduces Groundbreaking Ion Robotic Lung Program for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

REDDING, Calif. (March 19, 2024) – Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Redding is proud to announce the launch of the Ion Robotic Lung Program, a revolutionary initiative aimed at detecting lung cancer at its earliest stages. As the only hospital north of Sacramento to Portland to offer this program, Mercy Medical Center Redding is now equipped with Realtime Cios Spin 3D-Cone beam CT technology – expanding access to cutting-edge technology in lung cancer detection. This means more patients in the community will have access to advanced diagnostic capabilities.

The Ion Robotic Lung Program offers a non-invasive way to perform lung biopsies. Through the patient's mouth, the Ion robot can navigate deep into the lungs to obtain tissue samples without the need for traditional surgical incisions. The Ion technology allows us to find and biopsy masses that were previously unreachable and detect lung cancer at its earliest stages. Physicians can now identify small nodules and suspicious lesions in real-time, allowing for early intervention and potentially life-saving treatments.

The first case at Mercy Medical Center Redding was performed by Pulmonologist, Dr. Rafael Lupercio. “With early detection comes the opportunity for immediate treatment planning,” said Dr. Lupercio.“If cancer is detected, patients can work with the Thoracic Oncology team to develop a personalized treatment plan, offering hope for better outcomes compared to delayed diagnoses.”

Dr. Lupercio added that 80% are diagnosed at a late stage III and IV, which only allows for treatment with chemo radiation, but this technology allows for early diagnosis with a chance for a cure.

Lung cancer remains a significant public health concern, accounting for a substantial number of cancer-related deaths worldwide. In the North State, lung cancer ranks among the top two tumor types diagnosed annually. Despite advancements in screening, diagnosis and treatment, early detection remains critical for improving patient outcomes. With the introduction of the Ion Robotic Program, Mercy Medical Center Redding is at the forefront of combating lung cancer by detecting it in its earliest and most treatable stages.

“Despite the formidable challenges posed by lung cancer, Mercy Medical Center Redding remains steadfast in our commitment to providing the highest standard and the most advanced care to our patients,” said G. Todd Smith, President, Mercy Medical Center Redding. “Through continual investment in innovative technologies and programs like the Ion Robotic Lung Program, we are dedicated to combating cancer and enhancing patient outcomes.”

The implementation of the Ion Robotic Lung Program is not an isolated endeavor but rather part of a larger vision for comprehensive cancer care with the forthcoming state-of-the-art Regional Cancer Center. This center is designed to cater to the diverse needs of thousands of cancer patients and their families - poised to transform the landscape of cancer care in the region.

At Mercy Medical Center Redding, we recognize the critical importance of early detection in the fight against lung cancer that's why we proudly offer a specialized lung screening program known as Low Dose CT. Participation in this program requires a referral from your primary care physician, ensuring that each screening is tailored to your specific needs and medical history.


About Dignity Health North State

Mercy Medical Center Redding, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, and Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta are Dignity Health North State hospitals sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn. The hospitals are passionate about patient care, committed to community outreach, advocates for the underserved, and dedicated to delivering quality, affordable health services to those in need. The hospitals also offer a broad array of outpatient services and the senior services of Connected Living. Visit to learn more.


Publish date: 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Media Contact

Allison Hendrickson
[email protected]