SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – According to the CDC, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. For the past year, Sanford Health has been using a ‘robot’ to help diagnose patients with lung cancer.

It may look like Dr. Paul Berger is playing a video game, but it’s much more than that.

“This is one of the ways that we are revolutionizing lung health care, lung diagnostics, and improving the overall patient condition for our patients in the region,” Berger said.

The Monarch Platform is a tool that can help doctors diagnose lung diseases earlier.

“This technology is leaps and bounds ahead of where we were just at least two years ago,” Berger said. “We can provide them with early diagnostics of the concerning finding they may have from a CT scan or chest x-ray so they don’t have to leave home, they can stay close to home.”

This Monarch at Sanford is the only one between Denver and Minneapolis.

Since getting the device in September of 2020, they’ve been able to use it for about 140 patients.

“For anyone who is between the ages of 50 and 80, who has at least a 20 pack year smoking history, is either currently smoking, who has smoked within the last 15 years, then those are the people we are focusing on,” Berger said. “If you catch cancer early enough, you have a 90% chance of having an improved quality and enhanced longevity,” Berger said.

Dr. Berger says every procedure is one with general anesthesia and has a protected airway so he is able to get to where he needs to in the lungs to do a diagnostic procedure safely.