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Fredericksburg, Va. (WUSA9) -- 66 year-old Mauro Santillo is a huge soccer fan. He is just returning from work, and relaxes while watching Brazil battle Croatia in a FIFA World Cup match. He loves to be active and is thankful for his health.

Santillo says, "No no, I don't retire. I like my job."

Santillo never had a major, persistent cough or trouble breathing, but a scan found a mark on his lung. His initial doctor thought it was simply a scratch. A few years later, he went to see Dr. Sandeep Khandar of Inova Fairfax Hospital, who wanted to perform a biopsy.

Dr. Khandhar says, "So over a period of time, this lung nodule started to grow and with the growth we elected to do a more invasive procedure."

It turned out to be lung cancer, it was caught relatively early. So, Dr. Khandhar used the SuperDimension procedure to see the nodule, and carefully remove it.

"We removed it surgically, we removed it minimally invasively with two small incisions, with a camera and small instruments and we got his entire lower lobe out," adds Dr, Khandhar.

He used an instrument called a Tri-Staple to gently close the wound.

Dr. Khandhar says, "Lung cancer is no longer a death sentence. If we can pick up these cancers early we have a chance of intervening."

In some cases, the patients are up and walking in an hour after a procedure. It didn't take long for Mr. Santillo to get back to the job that he loves.

Santillo says, "I had surgery on Friday and I left on Sunday morning. I went to work after a week."

Dr. Khandar stresses that people with a family history of lung cancer or a past/current history of smoking, check with their physician to see if scans are necessary.

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