Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Treatment Options at St. Vincent’s

At St. Vincent’s Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center, our lung cancer medical team offers you and your loved ones a full-range of screening, diagnosing, and treatment options to help you win the fight against the disease. These include traditional and non-invasive surgery options for patients with early stage and other forms of lung cancer. At St. Vincent’s, you can be confident you are receiving the best treatment available.

Leading Edge Technologies

St. Vincent’s medical team utilizes pioneering evidence-based guidelines, leading-edge technologies, treatment plans, concordance studies and best practices developed for cancer treatment, prevention, early detection and follow-up care. Our cancer specialists hold weekly teleconferences with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to align their treatment recommendations with these proven methodologies and to discuss the latest advances in cancer treatment and review challenging cases.

Multidisciplinary Team

St. Vincent’s multidisciplinary team includes medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, gastroenterologists, pathologists and radiologists. Together, they then determine which combination of treatment options will be most successful for each individual patient.

Our Diagnostic Approach

Early and precise diagnosis and staging of lung cancer is crucial to your successful treatment and recovery. St. Vincent’s highly specialized pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists and pathologists bring you the most advanced technologies and techniques to pinpoint the location and extent of your cancer.

These diagnostic methods include:

  • Lung biopsy
  • Sputum cytology
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Mediastinoscopy
  • CT Scan of the brain
  • Bone scan
  • Thoracentesis
  • Medical history and physical examination

Advanced Treatments for Best Outcomes

Our team of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists provide personalized treatment for your specific condition, all with the goal of decreasing pain, shortening your hospital stay and achieving the best possible outcome for you.

These techniques include:

  • Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) using the Novalis Tx linear accelerator
  • Minimally invasive robotic surgery
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Chemotherapy (including oral biologics)

Non-Invasive Treatment of Early Stage Lung Cancer

St. Vincent’s Elizabeth M. Pfriem Center for Radiation Therapy offers a non-invasive option for early stage lung cancer. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), also referred to as the cyber knife, delivers high doses of radiation therapy to small regions with pinpoint accuracy.

This technology is similar to type of treatment used for brain tumors. At St. Vincent’s, use of Novalis Tx™ radiosurgery linear accelerator and RapidArc® targets tumors in the lung with minimal damage to the surrounding non-cancerous lung tissue is essential.

Novalis Tx™ delivers treatment painlessly in treatment sessions lasting approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the particular situation. By using a less invasive approach than surgery, there is no cutting or the placement of markers. It is completely non-invasive. Multiple preliminary studies show it is safe, effective and as reliable as seven to eight weeks of standard radiation therapy.

The treatment is performed in an outpatient setting, resulting in greater patient comfort and less body or tumor movement ensuring the highest possible accuracy. It is effective for both cancerous and non-cancerous conditions. SBRT is “surgical” in that the beam quickly shrinks the tumor with surgical precision.

Candidates for SBRT with the Novalis Tx™ are patients with small lung cancers who are deemed medically inoperable (longtime smokers and those whose breathing capacity has weakened or whose lungs are in poor condition). Normally, these individuals would be unable to tolerate any kind of surgical procedure, but the Novalis Tx™ provides another treatment option.

Patients require a planning session where a special body mold is custom designed and then treatment is delivered once per week for a total of three to five sessions. The treatment of tumors with higher doses in fewer sessions is a trend in radiation oncology that is likely to continue as it is proving to be equal or better than more traditional methods.

Other Treatment Options

At St. Vincent’s, patients are assessed on an individualized basis for specialized treatments including minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), tumor ablation, personalized and targeted chemotherapy approaches and stereotactic body radiosurgery.

A combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is commonly used to treat lung cancer. Our multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists meets to determine which combination of treatment options is most appropriate and to evaluate each patient’s individual needs.

Complex lung cancer cases are often reviewed at our bi-weekly lung cancer specific Tumor Conference attended by surgeons, physicians and staff from different disciplines ensuring the most thorough assessment of these cases.

Patients receiving chemotherapy may receive treatment in our Ambulatory Infusion Center where they will find a warm, healing environment with state-of-the-art medical equipment and experienced, certified oncology nurses.

Lung Cancer Center

Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care