TULSA, Oklahoma - New robotic technology that operates like a video game is helping patients in Tulsa find out if they have lung cancer more quickly, safely, and with fewer complications.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is one of just six locations in the country using Auris Health’s Monarch Platform, a newly FDA approved innovation that allows doctors to view inside the lungs and get tissue for a biopsy. In just one month, 16 patients have been diagnosed using the new technology.

“Lung cancer is more deadly than breast, colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer combined, but symptoms don't show until late stages,” said Dr. Daniel Nader, Chief of Staff. "This allows us to find and biopsy nodules at a much earlier stage, instead of allowing them to grow."

Dr. Nader was involved in research with the Monarch Platform before the FDA approved its use in May of 2018. Traditional scopes used to obtain tissue are thicker and controlled by hand, and aren’t able to reach as far into the lungs.

"The computer will generate a pathway through the bronchial tubes to get to that target site,” explained Nader. “We use the controller to move through, and we can dock it in place, and then the smaller scope will actually come out, that's only 4.5 millimeters, and this will get us to the edge of the lung.”

Theresa DeMasters said she is thankful to be one of the first to try the robotic technology at CTCA Tulsa, driving down from Joplin, Missouri for help.

“Things were moving to slow there. Everything was taking at least a week, and that adds up,” said DeMasters. “Once I was here, everything just happened so much faster.”

DeMasters said after 30 years of smoking, she quit three years ago. Dr. Nader said her tumor had caused so much swelling in her bronchial tubes, a traditional scope would not have fit through her airways.

“When he told me about the robotic technology I was a little scared. I didn’t know what to expect,” said DeMasters. “"I just remember going in the room, and then waking up in recovery, and that was it."

Within just a couple of days, she had a diagnosis.

"I had Stage 4 lung cancer, that had metastasized to my skull,” said DeMasters. “I’m living a nightmare, but I’m thankful that I’m here.”

DeMasters started radiation on her skull and will begin chemotherapy Friday.

“I’m ready to get it started, and get it over with,” said DeMasters. “I want to get better. Not in remission, to be cancer free,” said DeMasters.

Like many, she didn’t show any symptoms until a recent cough.

"Often times lung cancer does not present itself with symptoms until it is late stage,” said Dr. Nader. “Hopefully more people will get tested sooner,” he said.

CTCA Tulsa has had a 98% accuracy rate with the robotic technology. Other technologies average  65% to 85% accuracy.

“Not only is it more accurate, it causes less complications,” said Dr. Nader. "In other technologies, the complication rate can be as high as 30%. With this technology we really expect the complication rate to be less than 0.1%.”

Dr. Nader expects the robotic technology will soon be used in neurology, managing kidney stones, and GI implications.