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Video: Lung Cancer TreatmentLung Cancer Treatment
Lung Cancer Treatment
At CTCA, we provide patients with treatment options that fit their lifestyle. Listen to Dr. Daniel Nader describe several treatment options for lung cancer.
Our commitment to fighting lung cancer goes hand-in-hand with our dedication to providing compassionate, integrative cancer care. In 1992, CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern) launched its revolutionary Interventional Pulmonology Program.
Dr. Daniel Nader, National Clinical Director of Pulmonary/Critical Care at CTCA, has led the program since its inception. It offers patients with lung cancer access to the most sophisticated technology available for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“We’re second to none in what we offer,” says Carla Rausch, manager of Respiratory Therapy at Southwestern.
Dr. Nader, a highly regarded interventional pulmonologist, has performed over 4,500 bronchoscopy procedures and provided over 1,500 High-Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatments.
Dr. Nader’s multi-specialty team includes pulmonologists; surgical, medical and radiation oncologists; and radiologists, who work closely together to offer each patient a comprehensive cancer treatment plan tailored to his or her needs. Dr. Nader and his team perform an average of 22 to 25 procedures each month.
Watch this video of lung cancer survivor Loretta Swan, as she shares her gratitude for the dedication and care she received from Dr. Nader and his team.
Rausch emphasizes that CTCA has long been ahead of its time in using interventional pulmonary technology. She says when the program began, Southwestern was the first hospital in a four-state area to use autofluorescence bronchoscopy, a major diagnostic piece of equipment. Rausch adds, at the time, most hospitals were using only standard white-light bronchoscopy to search patients’ lungs for suspicious masses.
Dr. Nader followed the autofluorescence (fluorescence-light) bronchoscopy technology through its development, establishing protocols on how this technology could benefit our patients.
Rausch says autofluorescence bronchoscopy allows Dr. Nader to do early detection, as well as look for recurrence of lung disease. Dr. Nader’s team uses it to:
- Help identify potentially precancerous and cancerous tissue
- Illuminate the tissue using night-vision technology
- Display real-time, video images of the patient’s lungs
- Highlight areas considered suspicious for disease
- Retrieve biopsies for further evaluation
Another innovative technology, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), allows Dr. Nader and his team to restage and diagnose lung tissue. For this minimally invasive test, a bronchoscope is fitted with an ultrasound device to help the team biopsy abnormal lymph nodes in the chest. EBUS’ ultrasound technology enables Dr. Nader to see tissue densities so that he can identify potential tumors or lymph nodes.
In July 2011, Southwestern started offering medical pleuroscopy. This procedure allows the physician to view and diagnose any issues in the lung’s pleural cavity, as well as perform other procedures to help relieve fluid buildup.
Another innovative interventional technology, navigational bronchoscopy, uses both advanced imaging techniques and electromagnetic navigation to diagnose and treat lung cancer.
“Navigational bronchoscopy is a significant asset for diagnosis and management of lung cancer,” says Dr. Nader. “Now we can diagnose cancer anywhere in the lungs at a very early stage. This means real hope for millions of people.”
After Dr. Nader identifies a potential tumor on a CT scan, he uses the navigational bronchoscope to travel through the intricate airways of the patient's lungs to find and biopsy tumors. In many ways, it acts like a global positioning system (GPS), guiding the bronchoscope through the complex maze of airways directly to a tumor.
Dr. Nader says: “Standard bronchoscopy can only reach masses in the central part of the lungs. This new tool can reach masses in the periphery of the lungs, where two-thirds of the masses may be located. It can also reach lymph nodes and help us determine the cancer stage.”
Rausch adds: “We hadn’t been able to reach those masses before without performing a surgical or radiological procedure. This is yet another service that provides our patients a safe choice. It also requires less time for recovery and can be done on an outpatient basis.”
In addition to performing diagnostic procedures, Dr. Nader uses navigational bronchoscopy to help him place catheters in vital areas of the lungs. Then, he can treat smaller and more peripheral tumors with High-Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
Watch a medical animation which explains how a navigational bronchoscopy procedure is performed.
Argon Plasma Coagulation
Argon plasma coagulation may also be employed. Dr. Nader can destroy tumors in the airways using argon, a gas that behaves like a liquid. The gas actually changes its physical properties by adding electricity. As the plasma comes out of it, the argon directs itself to the tumor, even bending around its corners. When it reaches a tumor, the electricity destroys it.
HDR brachytherapy is the most common therapeutic procedure performed in the Lung Center at Southwestern. Brachytherapy is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy for stage III lung cancer patients. For some stage IV lung cancer patients, Dr. Nader says that chemotherapy is the standard treatment.
Another treatment option for some people may be photodynamic therapy. To administer this treatment, Dr. Nader uses a light-sensitive drug and a laser to target and destroy cancer cells. This promising treatment takes minutes to complete. It can be performed on an outpatient basis, is relatively pain free, requires minimal sedation, involves less risk than surgery, and has minimal side effects.
Clinical Trials for Lung Cancer Treatment at CTCA
Dr. Nader has also been involved in an innovative lung cancer study which combines radiation therapy with intratumoral chemotherapy. In the study for advanced-stage lung cancer patients, intratumoral chemotherapy (e.g., cisplatin) is injected directly into the tumor, making the tumor more sensitive to HDR brachytherapy, the second portion of the treatment plan. Dr. Nader is also conducting a research study of the Calypso® 4D Localization System™ for the treatment of lung cancer.
New Lung Center Patients
We are extremely proud to offer a personalized, defined path for our patients fighting lung cancer.
Prior to your arrival at Southwestern, our staff will collect your medical records from other facilities. Dr. Nader then reviews your profile and records. These include:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Chest x-rays (Note: Chest x-rays prior to your appointment with Dr. Nader must be no more than 30 days old. Otherwise, new x-rays will be taken upon your arrival.)
- CT scans
Rausch says: “We also do a pulmonary function test on all of our new lung cancer patients prior to them seeing Dr. Nader. This gives us an idea of their lung health, so we know what cancer treatment options may be available.” The pulmonary function test gives Dr. Nader a first look at how your lungs are working. In addition, you'll receive a pulmonary assessment, which is a detailed review of your respiratory status.
Next comes your appointment with Dr. Nader. He personally spends a significant amount of time with each new patient. You'll undergo advanced diagnostic tests, such as a CT scan or lab test (pathology).
Once Dr. Nader has all of this information, he can determine the disease type and stage of your cancer. At that time, he also confers with a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and surgical oncologist to develop your individualized treatment plan.
Watch this video of Dr. Nader as he discusses the steps he takes to follow up with his patients after they have received treatment.
Want to Learn More about the Lung Center?
Call us today at 1-800-615-3055 to learn more about our innovative and integrative approach to fighting lung cancer at CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center. Or, click to chat now with one of our knowledgeable Oncology Information Specialists.