A lung screening at a routine check-up likely saved Keith Eskow’s life. With a history of smoking, and thus an increased risk of lung cancer, a spot on the right lung concerned his pulmonologist, who suggested advanced testing.
The scan ordered by Dr. Thomas Yadegar, M.D., showed a nodule in the lung and the subsequent biopsy confirmed a small cancer.
Eskow was tapped to be the first patient in the San Fernando Valley and neighboring communities to undergo a robotic-assisted pulmonary lobectomy to remove what was found to be a very aggressive cancer, known as small cell lung cancer. Thoracic surgeon Dr. Andrew Brownlee, M.D., performed this potentially life-saving surgery at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center and sent the patient home in just two days.
Without that initial screening, the stage 1 cancer likely would have spread quickly and resulted in a dire prognosis. Instead, Eskow is enormously relieved as he recovers at home.
“He’s doing great!” said Brownlee, who removed a cancerous lobe from Eskow’s right lung.
The robotic procedure utilizes smaller incisions, limits pain, shortens recovery time and results in fewer complications than traditional open surgeries, Brownlee said. Three-dimensional visualization through high-tech cameras and scaled motions help refine the surgeon’s precision.
“The robot is a like an iPhone or Tesla. You get constant upgrades to the software that expands what the platform can be used for,” the surgeon said. “In many other surgeries, you use the same instruments people used 50 years ago.”
“Dr. Brownlee was able to say right away that we got it all. He was confident,” Eskow said.
Recovering at home, Eskow reflected on the teamwork at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana.
“This isn’t something you want to hear about having,” he said. “But everyone kept me informed and talked with me. The doctors communicated with each other, and they were hand-in-hand explaining things. ‘This is what we will do. This is what we might expect.’”