Ask the Expert: Lung Cancer Treatment
Dr. Nick Loudas, radiation oncologist at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, answers some frequently asked questions about lung cancer treatment.
What are the treatment options for lung cancer?
There are a number of different treatment options for lung cancer. Specific recommendations depend largely on the stage of the cancer. For early stage lung cancers, we typically treat these with surgery. In patients who cannot undergo surgery for any reason, radiation therapy is an alternative to surgery that is similarly effective. For more advanced disease, treatment may involve a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery depending on various factors. When lung cancer is so advanced that it is not felt to be curable, systemic therapies such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy are typically recommended.
How do you determine what treatment is best for the patient?
The best treatment for an individual patient is determined after a thorough workup to determine the extent of the cancer within the body. Once we as physicians have an accurate picture of the location and extent of cancer within the body, we assign a stage to the cancer. Based on this stage, we are able to determine what cancer therapies might be appropriate. Final decisions regarding the best treatment for a particular patient involve weighing the risks and benefits of each option while taking into account the individual patient’s medical history and goals of care.
How do physicians collaborate to ensure the best treatment for each patient?
The cancer team that cares for lung cancer patients includes physicians across a number of specialties that need to communicate effectively to ensure the best treatment for each patient. We do this in part by having a weekly lung cancer conference where physicians involved in all aspects of lung cancer care meet to discuss questions regarding the best management of each patient. We also discuss treatment decisions outside of this conference over the phone or in person as needed.
What sets the Nassif Community Cancer Center apart when it comes to Lung Cancer treatment?
The Nassif Community Cancer Center is unique because we are able to provide comprehensive lung cancer care from diagnosis to treatment and long-term cancer survivorship care. We perform lung cancer screenings and offer all types of treatment for all types and stages of lung cancer in one system. This is not the case everywhere and patients sometimes need to receive care fragmented among different systems or clinics depending on the availability of resources in other places. When it comes to lung cancer care, the Nassif Community Cancer Center and St. Luke’s Hospital together are able to provide a one stop shop for nearly everything necessary to manage a patient’s lung cancer. We also have excellent physicians and staff that strive to ensure the best outcomes and experience during a patient’s cancer care. We emphasize evidence-based medicine and strive to customize treatments for patients depending on their individual needs.
To learn more about lung cancer care at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, click here.
Nick Loudas, MD, is a board-certified radiation oncologist with the St. Luke’s Nassif Radiation Center and Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center.
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