Diagnosing lung cancer
Lung cancer has traditionally had a high mortality rate, but early detection can significantly improve outcomes. Roper St. Francis Healthcare is at the forefront of improving both screening to detect lung cancer early and performing minimally invasive biopsies in select patients.
If a nodule or abnormality is found during a screening, it will be evaluated by our team of experts with the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program. They may recommend several steps to determine the diagnosis, including:
- Referral to a lung diagnostic specialist
- Further imaging tests (CT scan, PET scan, MRI)
- A biopsy, potentially with our latest technology – the Ion robot-assisted device, which allows us to biopsy lung nodules even earlier and safer than before.
Ion technology is revolutionizing how we diagnose lung cancer. Until recently, a patient with a lung nodule was often told to “watch and wait” to see if the nodule grew. A biopsy required open surgery, and many nodules were too small to biopsy or too difficult to reach. Now, thanks to minimally invasive Ion technology, we can biopsy even the smallest nodule in all 18 sections of the lungs. For many patients, this eliminates the “watch and wait” phase, and allows us to identify cancer at its earliest stages for better results.
This type of biopsy is performed while the patient is under anesthesia. The physician places a small tube through the mouth, which is guided down the throat to the lung nodule or nodules by a GPS-like system. If the nodule is benign, patient anxiety is relieved immediately. If it is cancerous, effective treatment can begin right away for a significantly improved outcomes. This biopsy procedure takes just one hour or less, and patients often return home the same day.
Lung cancer treatment
Lung cancer and other thoracic tumors often require multiple treatment modalities. Each of our patients is evaluated by our cancer experts, both at our provider locations and within the weekly thoracic multidisciplinary cancer conference, to create a customized treatment plan. In addition, our patients have access to clinical trials not offered elsewhere in the region. Our five year survival rate surpasses both state and national levels. Roper St. Francis Healthcare lung cancer treatment options include:
- Advanced surgical options including robotic and other minimally invasive approaches
- Access to TrueBeam® and a highly experienced radiosurgical team using precise technologies for non-surgical treatment of tumors
- Biological therapy
- Access to national clinical trials
- Integration of long term aftercare with your primary care physician
Multidisciplinary care plan
The treatment plan of most patients is discussed and agreed upon at a weekly case presentation conference attended by the experts in all facets of thoracic cancer care
Lung cancer support
We provide each of our patients with a dedicated patient navigator to offer support and guidance through every stage of treatment and recovery. Support services include nutritional counseling, integrative therapies such as pain management and palliative specialists, and mental health professionals. Learn more about Roper St. Francis Cancer Care support services.