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New EBUS at Lakeridge Health

New lung cancer equipment at Lakeridge Health

“Cancer care is changing...You want to provide cutting edge care to patients.”

Nearly a year ago, a special delivery arrived to Lakeridge Health Oshawa Hospital that had thoracic surgeon, Dr. Armen Parajian, exceptionally excited. When it arrived, Dr. Parjian was so thrilled, he literally hugged the box it came in.

“I was very excited,” Dr. Parajian recalls. “It was so nice and I felt very special and privileged to have it. Not all Hospitals have it and not everyone is trained to use it. Dr. John Dickie had been working with Lakeridge Health Foundation for a while, because we really needed it for the Caner Centre.”

So what is ‘it’ that created such a stir at our Hospital? A year ago, our Hospital became the proud owners of a new endobronchial ultrasound machine. The endobronchial ultrasound, or EBUS for short, is used primarily to figure out if lung cancer has spread from a patient’s lymph nodes into their chest. With the EBUS, Lakeridge Health thoracic surgeons, like Dr. Parajian, are able to get real-time images from in and around the lungs, and, they are able to identify difficult-to-reach tumors. The EBUS can also be used to perform biopsies.

“Before we had EBUS, we were performing invasive surgeries to get a scope inside. Now, we no longer have to perform major surgery to get biopsies, and the process is much faster. With EBUS, you can also repeat the process so, for example, if a patient needs multiple biopsies, you can repeat the procedure.”

Now, with EBUS, as the standard of care here at Lakeridge Health, young patients with benign problems do not need to undergo invasive surgery for biopsy or ultrasound. Primarily, the EBUS is used to determine staging in lung cancer, and to perform biopsies almost anywhere in and around the lungs.

The number of patients served in a shorter period of time, has also increased. In just under a year, the EBUS has been used on patients 197 times.

“Cancer care is changing,” explains Dr. Parajian. “You want to provide cutting edge care to patients.”
Dr. Armen Parajian is one of few to have studied directly with the EBUS even being trained by the inventor of the EBUS, Dr. Yasfuku, a thoracic surgeon at Toronto General Hospital and the Director of Interventional Thoracic Surgery Program at UHN.

When Armen began his post-secondary studies, however, it was not in medicine but rather in architecture.
“I chose architecture but took some science classes. One class was taught by a pediatric surgeon and in during his class, I decided I had to switch into science full-time. When I went into medicine and residencies, I went for general surgery and landed in thoracic surgery.”

For Dr. Parajian, he is happy working at Lakeridge Health here in Oshawa, reflecting on the good things happening in the community, and the importance of serving one of the fastest growing parts of Ontario.
During this Lung Cancer Awareness month, Dr. Parajian shares that it is important, especially if you meet the criteria for screening, to go in for a lung health screening.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer dream for women and men in Ontario. In 2016, an estimated 7,100 people died of lung cancer in Ontario, which is more than the number of people in our provice who died of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer, combined.

Now, Cancer Care Ontario is introducing a Lung Cancer Screening Pilot for People at High Risk and Lakeridge Health, right here in Oshawa, is one of three hospitals in Ontario taking part in the pilot.

Again, thanks to donor support, Lakeridge Health Foundation was able to raise over $750,000 needed to purchase an EBUS for our community. On behalf of our Hospital and the 197 patients who have already benefitted from having EBUS available at our Hospital, thank you.

If you are able to give, please, donate online today and support other priority needs at our Hospital.