New robot gives Lincoln County man second chance at life cancer-free

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:29 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Scott Carter, 64 of Lincoln County is one of an estimated 28.3 million people who smoke cigarettes. Now he’s kicking the habit cold turkey after a new discovery.

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Only First Alert 4 is getting a look at the new robotic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital which found Carter’s cancer was growing.

In Elsberry, Missouri, 80 minutes out of St. Louis, Carter sits on his front porch to let his mind, unwind.

“When you sit out here by yourself, you can’t help think about what’s coming,” Carter shared. “What your odds are what they could have been and how things could have been different.”

Carter faces the biggest hurdle of his life, lung cancer.

“I don’t know it didn’t surprise me. I don’t know why,” Carter explained. “I don’t know if you want this on camera, but I have so many things wrong with me, it’s like get in line.”

For years, pulmonologists said they couldn’t do much for Carter. Not until Dr. Alex Chen with Washington University and Siteman Cancer Center said there was a new way to explore his lungs.

“Anytime you hear its new, you’ll be one of the first. you think oh lord do I really want to do that,” Carter said.

“Scott’s case was a situation we thought this technology might be beneficial”

That new technology is robotic bronchoscopy. A new device in the region that calls BJC home.

Only First Alert 4 was cleared to enter the operating room to see first hand how the device works. What makes this multi-million-dollar robot a technological advancement is tiny scope that can bend and move in any direction.

“The ability to articulate and bend at different angles, and create angles that we might have challenges doing,” Dr. Chen explained. “This is the area really, I think these technologies might be beneficial.”

Dr. Chen and his team has spent the last six years helping develop this robotic from conception to the operating table.

“This technology is being used more frequently,’ Dr. Chen shared. “I think because we are more familiar with it and also, I think we are seeing more patients come through doors with pulmonary modules that need a biopsy.”

The patient’s CT scan is digitized allowing Dr. Chen and his team to create a map of the patient’s lungs to locate the nodule. This is the tool Dr. Chen used to find Carter’s nodule and determine it was growing and cancerous.

Dr. Chen said a diagnosis is the best gift he can give a patient.

“What we know is that the majority of patients are diagnosed unfortunately at later stages where you are talking about chemo and radiation without an intent to cure,” Dr. Chen explained. “If we can capture patients at an earlier stage which is the crux of lung cancer screening, it’s a different disease entirely and what that means we can cure those patients and they have an incredibly good outlook for the future.”

“I think maybe a lot of people are afraid they got it so they don’t want to find out but I don’t know that’s really stupid,” Carter shared. “If you you waste time and you wait to get up to stage 3 or 4 what are you going to do then? Wish you had?”

Carter learned he has between stage one and stage two Adenocarcinoma He said doctors tell him they can remove the nodule and expect him to be cancer free without the need of chemo or radiation.

“I think I got very lucky, I got very lucky. It seems everything is falling into the right place,” Carter said.

With a more positive outlook, Scott is back in Lincoln County on his front porch to think about life and his future cancer free.

“Sometimes it’s tough to put into words,” Carter shared. “I wouldn’t have it any other way than right now. This is great.”