Expert Care for People with Lung and Esophageal Cancers and Other Chest Tumors
Thoracic cancers—those arising in the chest, such as cancers of the lung (including small cell and non-small cell lung cancers), esophagus, thymus, and mediastinum—are among the most complex tumors to treat. The best care you can receive for these cancers is based on the latest medical research findings and provided by an interdisciplinary team of doctors with specialty training. You can find that team at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.
Our team will carefully evaluate your health and match you with the most effective treatment, based on the stage and biology of your cancer and your personal preferences. We know the treatment of thoracic cancers can be complex, and we support you every step of the way.
A Team Approach to Thoracic Cancer Care
Your care team includes thoracic surgeons; thoracic medical oncologists who oversee chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other medical treatments; radiation oncologists; pathologists; radiologists; nurses; social workers; and others with expertise in the care of people with thoracic cancers. They meet regularly at Tumor Boards to discuss your case, pooling their knowledge to customize a plan of care just for you. Your team works together to make sure your experience with us is a positive one. We don’t just care for you, but about you. In fact, according to Press-Ganey surveys, 99 percent of our patients report satisfaction with their care.
Thoracic Cancer Treatment Based on the Latest Research Advances
Your thoracic cancer team will tailor a treatment plan that meets your needs. We may combine surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or radiation therapy, choosing the approaches that give you the best chance of a successful outcome. We also offer immunotherapy—one of the most recent advances in thoracic cancer care, which involves boosting the power of your immune system against cancer—and precision medicine, which targets the molecular abnormalities fueling your tumor’s growth.
If your cancer is operable, we try whenever possible to remove it using minimally invasive robotic surgery. Our thoracic surgeons perform more than 80 percent of procedures, including lobectomies (removal of lobes of the lungs) and esophagectomies (removal of esophageal tissue), using minimally invasive approaches that result in smaller scars and a faster recovery. Many lung surgeries in the United States are performed by general surgeons. At John Theurer Cancer Center, board-certified thoracic oncology surgeons perform these procedures—and they do so two at a time, combining their expertise to perform your operation.
The latest anticancer drugs
We’ll also study your tumor to identify genetic mutations and learn about the molecular signals involved in your cancer’s growth. We use the results of these tests to match you with targeted therapies. This “precision medicine” approach ensures that you receive the therapy that is best suited for the biology of your cancer. As a matter of fact, studies led by John Theurer Cancer Center have demonstrated the impact in the real world of identifying these mutations, since targeting them could be more effective than conventional chemotherapy.
Super-targeted radiation therapy
Our Radiation Oncology Division offers every type of radiation therapy available—including image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), in which take images before and during your treatment to see how you are responding, “tweaking” the radiation we give you to ensure you receive only what you need. We also offer stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)—the use of focused, highly precise (within one millimeter) high-dose radiation given over fewer sessions than conventional radiation therapy.
You may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of a novel treatment. We have a robust portfolio of clinical trials, which often offer the most hope for people with metastatic and recurrent lung and esophageal tumors. Your care team will let you know if you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial.
Spiral CT scanning can detect many lung cancers in their earlier, more curable stages. If you are at increased risk for lung cancer due to a history of smoking, you may be eligible for lung cancer screening. John Theurer Cancer Center is designated as a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. If CT scanning shows a suspicious nodule, we can quickly connect you with our lung specialists for follow-up care. Contact us for more information and to schedule an appointment.