The Thoracic Tumor Clinic, part of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, Maryland, treats patients with thoracic cancers—including small and non-small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, thymoma and bronchial carcinoid—and facilitates the rapid diagnoses and treatment for patients with these cancers.
Lung cancer is the most common of all thoracic malignancies. Approximately 222, 520 estimated new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2010.
The Thoracic Tumor Clinic team assesses each patient and determines the type of treatment he or she can best tolerate. The team then devises an aggressive treatment plan. Pathologists and oncologists meet biweekly to review cases and analyze recent clinical studies.
The multidisciplinary approach involves bringing together physicians from different fields—most frequently, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and palliative care—to provide cancer patients with an optimal treatment plan. The multidisciplinary approach expedites treatment and care by combining office appointments and eliminating waiting times. Surgeons using the multidisciplinary approach now see patients from the beginning to the end of their treatment.
New patients most frequently come to the clinic through the hospital emergency room or through a referral from an attending physician, who may notice a patient with shortness of breath.
Patients with locally advanced but resectable lung cancer often receive chemotherapy and radiation before surgery to potentially shrink the tumors and improve the probability that all parts of the malignancy can be removed during surgery.
If surgery is required, the surgeon typically removes the malignancy and resects the lung. The revolutionary CyberKnife® uses cruise missile technology to noninvasively target tumors that were previously inoperable.
Following surgery, many patients with stage two cancer receive chemotherapy. Studies have shown that three to four cycles of chemotherapy within a short time frame can improve patients’ chances for recovery.
At every stage, doctors are there together with the patient, agreeing on what steps to take next and developing a plan that is acceptable to everyone. Some patients elect a less toxic, less aggressive course of treatment. Others may seek the most aggressive treatment possible.
Throughout the treatment, doctors in the Thoracic Clinic are vigilant about informing patients about side effects, both life threatening and non-life threatening.
Using advanced diagnostic tools such as endobronchial ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound to aid in lung cancer detection, the Thoracic Clinic team works closely to identify prospective patients and to minimize the number of invasive procedures for current patients.
Information about smoking cessation programs is also readily available through the clinic.
The thoracic oncology team takes a holistic approach, providing many specialists who care for the whole patient. In most cases, patients know their course of treatment by the time they leave the Thoracic Clinic.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with the Thoracic Clinic at Sinai Hospital, call 410-601-4600.