FARGO — The robot is called the Monarch Platform, and it is a lung cancer-screening robot.
The robot is composed of several different components, but the most important is the small camera-topped tube, which is fed through a patient's mouth.
Once that's done, doctors can see a live feed, and control it with what looks like a video game controller.
The accuracy is significantly higher than traditional methods, as doctors get GPS guidance through the lungs, based on a map of the patient's CT scan.
Once doctors arrive to where they believe cancer may be present, a tool can be fed through the tube, to take a sample.
"What this technology allows us to do is, (with) a high degree of certainty, that we can get that nodule that's somewhere deep within the lung. We can get there quickly, with no pain involved, no recovery involved, and get a tissue sample," said Dr. Karol Kremens, a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, and the operator of the machine, at Essentia Health in Fargo.
The procedure is non-invasive, with zero need for recovery, and takes only three to four hours.
Though the high-tech procedure is impressive, and effective, Dr. Kremens said, it's not the most important step of the process.
"The sooner you get screened, the sooner we find cancer, the more effective the therapies are, right. So aside all the fancy technology that we have, the most important step that you can take is the first step where you talk to your primary care doctor," said Dr. Kremens.
Dr. Kremens added, if you smoke or quit in the past 15 years, to have that discussion with your doctor, as Stage 1 and Stage 2 lung cancer is treatable — and practically curable — while Stage 3 and Stage 4 typically means the worst.