Diagnosing Lung and Thoracic Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S. New treatments are improving outcomes for cancer patients, but caring for your lungs throughout your lifetime – even after a cancer diagnosis – is the first line of defense in the battle with lung cancer.
To provide the best treatment for lung and thoracic cancers, it is very important to understand the specific type of cancer and to learn if, and how far, the cancer has spread.
At Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pulmonologists and professional clinicians identify and stage the cancer using the most advanced technology, including:
- PET, MRI and CT scans
- Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy – a test to view the airways using a bronchoscope passed through the mouth or nose through the windpipe (trachea) and into the lungs
- Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) guided fine needle aspiration biopsy of mediastinal nodes – offers a less invasive alternative for sampling of the mediastinal nodes
- Transesophageal Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) – a high-frequency ultrasound transducer which is incorporated into the tip of an endcoscope to provide high-resolution images; may involve fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of suspected malignancies.
- Mediastinocopy – a surgical procedure to examine the inside of the upper chest between, and in front, of the lungs
- CT guided needle biopsy – a procedure by which the physician uses a very thin needle and syringe to withdraw a tissue or fluid specimen from an organ or suspected tumor mass. The needle is guided while being viewed by the physician on a computer tomography (CT) scan.
- Molecular profiling – provides a molecular portrait of an individual cancer allowing clinicians to determine the origin of the cancer, its potential for metastasis, its specific drug responsiveness and the probability of its recurrence.
The U.S. Task Force recently recommended annual low-dose CT scans for people with current, or former, significant smoking histories. NGMC is designated as a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology. Click here to learn more about our Medicare-approved lung cancer screening option.
How cancer is staged
- Location of the first tumor
- Size of tumor(s)
- Number of tumors
- Spread to lymph nodes
- Appearance/shape of cancer cells
- Spread to other areas of the body
After studying your unique cancer, we’ll work with you and a team of cancer specialists to develop a specific treatment plan which may include any of the following or a combination of:
Surgery is most commonly performed as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. To remove the tumors that are growing in the lung or chest wall, your surgeon may perform:
- Wedge resection (segmentectomy): the surgeon removes a small wedge-shaped piece of the lung that contains the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around the cancer
- Lobectomy: the surgeon removes the entire lobe of your lung that contains the cancer
- Pneumonectomy: the surgeon removes the entire lung that contains the cancer
Surgical oncology services at NGMC provide the very latest in minimally invasive techniques. Click here to learn more about these techniques.
Our Radiation Therapy department offers the latest, state-of-the-art treatment technologies including therapies which deliver maximum doses of radiation with a decreased risk of side effect. Click here to learn more.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells and tumors in the body. Depending on which type of cancer you have, you may have chemotherapy before or after surgery.
NGMC’s Cancer Services program offers a modern, comfortable infusion suite where patients can receive their chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy is also offered by our medical oncologists in their offices.
While receiving your treatment, you may want to visit with your family and friends who accompany you, read or watch television. Our care team will work to make you as comfortable as possible during your treatments.
The Cancer Center at NGMC adheres to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines to enhance standards of care for all cancer patients. If you are interested in learning more about your cancer and the specific guidelines your doctor will use to determine your treatment, you can sign up for free on the NCCN website, NCCN.org, which provides the most comprehensive and most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available. On this site, you can view the following:
- Guidelines used by your provider for treatment by each type of cancer
- Information on payment assistance and reimbursement help
- Information on national clinical trials
Northeast Georgia Medical Center actively participates in clinical trials to make the latest treatments available to our patients and to advance the treatment options available to patients around the world in defeating cancer. Click here to learn more about lung and thoracic clinical trials that are currently offered at NGMC.
NGMC offers a Patient Navigation Program to guide you through your cancer journey.
NGMC also provides other valuable resources to guide you through your cancer care and to answer questions after you have completed your treatment for cancer. To learn more about our extensive support network from financial counseling to pastoral care, click here.
For more information about care care at NGMC, please call 770-219-8815.