Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Carle Cancer Institute Urbana is the premier cancer treatment and support center in east central Illinois, offering specialized teams of fellowship trained oncologists, surgeons and staff. A recent addition to the staff is Dr. Rammohan Marla who is using a new method of robotics to treat thoracic (chest) patients with minimally invasive cancer surgery. Dr. Marla is part of a two-surgeon team that offers minimally invasive cancer surgery to patients closer to home rather than traveling to St. Louis or Chicago.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in doing surgery?
• Medicine is a favored occupation in my family. Uncle is a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon in England. Father, sister, father-in-law and sister-in-law are all physicians as well.
• Received medical training in New Delhi, India, followed by general surgery training at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

What type of patient has surgery where you would be their physician?
• Someone experiencing an early stage of lung cancer
• Often someone who is also trying to manage other health complications
• 65 years of age or older
• Long-term smoker of tobacco
• Part of a two-surgeon team that offers minimally invasive surgery to cancer patients.

How was lung cancer surgery conducted before robotics?
• Still today, surgery for 30 to 40 percent of patients is an open thoracotomy (opening the chest with large incisions and cutting ribs)
• Those patient have that is difficult to control and chronic chest wall pain can follow for years after the surgery.

And how is robotic surgery different?
• With the surgery I do, there are small incisions, no rib cutting and it virtually eliminates a chance for long-lasting chest wall pain after lung cancer surgery.
• Robotics allow the surgeon to pinpoint the work needed using a tiny camera and special surgical tools.
• The procedure offers greater safety for the patient and faster recovery

How does someone find out more about the minimally invasive robotic lung cancer surgery at Carle Cancer Institute?
• There are several steps to ensuring patients will be successful having this type of surgery.
• Low-dose CT scan for lung cancer screening
• A lung navigator reviews each case and orders any tests/procedures and connects the patient with the appropriate healthcare provider.
• Carle Cancer Institute has a tumor board of professionals who review all cases and consult on the best course of treatment.

Where can people learn more about Carle Cancer Institute?
• Information about Mills Breast Cancer Institute and Carle Cancer Institute Normal are also included on the website.