Lung cancer is highly treatable and often curable, even when a patient has severely damaged lungs and advanced disease. Our Center’s goal is to provide treatment that is effective and innovative in curing and controlling cancer. The Center’s doctors are pioneering advances in effective, minimally invasive techniques that lower patients’ risk, pain, and recovery time, and enable even very ill patients to improve their quality of life.
The care of patients with lung cancer is a collaborative, multidisciplinary process. In a highly supportive and patient-focused environment, the Center for Thoracic Oncology at Fortis organizes services around each patient, bringing together the expertise of diverse physician specialists to manage care from the first consultation through treatment and follow-up visits. The FORTIS team combines state-of-the-art expertise with the technological advances of a major teaching hospital that is at the forefront of clinical practice, surgical expertise, and research in oncology.
A multidisciplinary medical team will work with the patient and his or her primary care physician to diagnose lung cancer and determine its severity.
In collaboration with other specialists, the physician will likely order a number of diagnostic tests and review the results at a weekly multidisciplinary Thoracic Tumor Board meeting. This interdepartmental review process guides the recommendations for treatment. In consultation with the patient and primary care physician, the team will plan the best course of treatment for the patient based on the type and extent of cancer, and overall health. For suspected or confirmed diagnoses of lung cancer, physicians will use a variety of diagnostic procedures to stage the disease and determine its severity and spread. Several tests and diagnostic procedures may need to be done before treatment begins.
Treatment: Specialists from thoracic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, and other medical disciplines combine their expertise to provide each patient with an integrated, individualized treatment plan. The plan may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. A patient may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials if an investigational lung cancer therapy is appropriate.
With their depth and range of expertise, Fortis specialists apply a wide array of state-of-the-art techniques including VATS and Robotic Surgery to cure patients by removing and killing cancerous tissue. The surgeons also use the most advanced techniques to relieve the symptoms of patients with advanced disease so they may improve their quality of life.
Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures for Lung Cancer
Lung Resection: Lung resection is the surgical removal of all or part of the lung. The lung has three parts (called lobes) on the right side; and two on the left. Often, an operation for lung cancer involves removing part or all of a lobe. Thoracic surgeons at FORTIS offer patients a variety of minimally invasive and robotic surgical procedures to treat lung cancer. The use of these state-of-the-art surgical techniques results in fewer side effects than traditional methods.
Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) or Robotic Lobectomy: Depending on the size and location of your cancer, it may be possible to use this minimally invasive approach to perform a resection. With VATS, several tiny incisions are made in the chest through which the surgeon inserts instruments as well as a small video camera that projects images onto a computer monitor. Your surgeon uses the images from the computer monitor as a guide during surgery.
Other Treatments: In addition to procedures that treat cancer directly, FORTIS’s thoracic surgeons perform procedures that can alleviate conditions or symptoms that arise in connection with lung cancer.
These treatments include:
Pleurodesis: which is used to alleviate the effects of pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, which is the area between the two layers of tissue that cover your lungs. The build-up of this fluid can constrict the lungs, limiting the amount of air that they take in. This can lead to shortness of breath, a fast heart rate (tachycardia), and difficulty breathing, especially when you are lying flat. The treatment options include chemical pleurodesis, in which your surgeon injects a chemical agent into the pleural space. The chemical irritates the two layers, which eliminates the space.
PleurX Catheter, a thin, flexible tube that your surgeon will place in the pleural space to drain the fluid accumulation associated with pleural effusion. For this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon will apply a local anesthetic to the area of the chest in which the catheter will be placed. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your chest and place the catheter. The catheter is then connected to a small bottle that uses gentle suction to drain the fluid.