Lung cancer specialists from Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Thoracic Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation
Oncology and Pathology collaborate on the early detection, diagnosis and
treatment of lung cancer — the nation’s leading cancer killer. This comprehensive
approach to care is coordinated by a patient navigator and includes a multidisciplinary team of nurses, social workers and nutritionists. Patients benefit from the most advanced cancer treatments and have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials.
The development of lung cancer has been strongly associated with tobacco use, as well as radon and asbestos exposure, although some people with lung cancer may have none of these risk factors.
Statistics show that over 70 percent of smokers want to quit, but only 3 to 5 percent will be able to do so on their own.
Currently, there is no universally accepted screening method for detecting lung cancer. However, new research which is focused on early detection with the use of CT scans for high risk patients, has shown potential for reducing deaths from lung cancer. A recent large study, the National Lung Screening Trial which found that the use of CT scans in people without cancer symptoms reduced the death
rate from lung cancer, defined high risk as someone having smoked at least 30 pack-years (the equivalent of a pack per day for 30 years) and being 55 to 75 years of age.
While some studies have concluded that screening can detect cancer at its earliest stage, while it is still curable, others reveal that screening often detects benign conditions that require invasive and unnecessary testing. The Lung Cancer Program continues to monitor the latest research studies and offers state-of-the-art options in lung cancer screening. Some patients may qualify for free screening.
State-of-the-art imaging tests, diagnostic procedures and our team of pathologists provide the most modern techniques for accurate diagnosis. When lung cancer is detected, the same resources are applied to staging the extent of disease and determining the best course of treatment. Genetic testing is performed to determine the best drug treatment based on the biology of an individual patient’s cancer.
Treatment recommendations vary greatly depending on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease and the general health of the patient. Surgery, minimally invasive surgery, radiosurgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination.
For localized cancers, minimally invasive thoracic surgery techniques are recommended whenever clinically appropriate. Advanced video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is associated with fewer risks and complications. Radiofrequency ablation may be an option for some patients who are unable to tolerate surgery.
Many lesions, because of their size, location or the medical condition of the patient, cannot be surgically removed. In such instances, a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended. The Lung Cancer Program offers the most advanced radiation modalities which deliver higher doses of radiation with greater accuracy and fewer side effects.
Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to reduce the risk of metastasis or with radiation for the treatment of locally advanced cancers. Chemotherapy may also be used alone for the treatment of advanced cancers. When appropriate, a patient’s cancer cells may be analyzed for genetic mutations or other markers that can predict the benefit of specific chemotherapeutic agents.
The Lung Center’s participation in research includes clinical trials that help determine the effectiveness of experimental lung cancer treatment methods. Although clinical trials do not guarantee better outcomes, they do offer additional treatment options.
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