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New piece of technology at hospital in Pittsburgh helps save woman's life

Pittsburgh hospital's new technology helps save life
Pittsburgh hospital's new technology helps save life 02:49

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For people battling cancer, surgery is often part of the treatment plan.

But many times, cancer cells are left behind, along with tumors lurking and waiting to grow. Now, a new piece of technology at UPMC Passavant Hospital helped save a woman's life.  

"I was loss of sleep, appetite because I just didn't want to have cancer again," Nancy Barton of Industry said. "Who wants to have cancer?"

She already battled cancer once before, so this time around with lung cancer, with nine grandchildren, things felt different

"And then I met Dr. Levy and he told me everything he was going to do," Barton said. 

Dr. Ryan Levy and Dr. Nicholas Baker tag teamed Barton's surgery plan, and she's one of just a handful of local people to use a first-of-its-kind injectable dye to illuminate the cancer spots on her lungs.

"What we're able to see with the camera is a little green speck where the cancer is," said Dr. Baker, the director of robotics surgery at UPMC. "And with the newest update, we actually see a heat map which shows us concentration."

Now three months after her latest surgery, Barton's reuniting with the doctors who saved her lungs and life

"The holy grail of lung surgery has always been early detection, early cure," said Dr. Levy, the chief of thoracic surgery at UPMC. "And the next holy grail, so to speak, is going to be identification of smaller and smaller lesions."

Because of this dye, doctors could carve out her cancer spots instead of needing to remove large portions of her lungs, giving Barton the quality of life she needs.

"Just living my life, not having to think about any of that," Barton said. "It's gone."

And those doctors described it to us as this: finding a marble in a big car wash sponge. So, it's a lot easier to find a marble that's bright green than one that isn't. 

Barton hopes that people know that they have options when they get that diagnosis, and she's just so thankful she had this one.  

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