1970-2000 The largest separate unit

Bronchoscopy in the diagnosis of lung cancer

Lung cancer is among the most difficult form of cancer to cure. Finland is in the second place after Great Britain in the world’s lung cancer statistics. 80-90% of  lung cancer cases can be traced to tobacco smoking.

The diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer was lacking in the previous decades, as a consequence of which lung cancer might have been mistakenly treated as tuberculosis. From the 1950s onwards attention was drawn to the prevalence of lung cancer particularly among men. A connection between the development of cancer and the population’s smoking habits and work-related exposure to asbestos was recognized.

The examination of the bronchi or bronchoscopy had earlier been used in the diagnostics of tuberculosis, but this procedure started to be applied for the diagnostics of lung cancer, as well. In Pikonlinna bronchoscopy was being developed especially by the long-term deputy chief of the lung clinic dr. Pentti Antila, who was one of the pioneers in bronchoscopic procedures in Finland. His contribution as a teacher of the procedure to young colleagues is also notable.

The opening of the oncology department in Pikonlinna contributed to the further development of cancer treatments. The clinics worked in good co-operation, which was manifested by the development of intrabronchial radiotherapy, to name one example. In intrabronchial radiotherapy the source of radiation is placed in the bronchus close to the tumour with the aid of a bronchoscope.