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At the Center for Thoracic Cancers, our multidisciplinary team of lung cancer specialists put together a comprehensive treatment plan just for you. Many lung patients benefit from our approach. You will see lung cancer specialists from medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgery. We:
Patients are usually seen within one week of referral.
The Center for Thoracic Cancers is among the first in the nation to provide new targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report, we provide the promising new therapies and innovative approaches to clinical care, including:
All members of our team of pathologists and radiologists are nationally recognized for their expertise. Our pathologists participate in weekly tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient’s unique cancer with the entire team to help guide care planning. Our radiologists use the most advanced imaging tools to diagnose and stage thoracic cancers and to detect changes in tumors. Our imaging methods include:
Our minimally invasive image-guided procedures for diagnosis include:
Some new cancer drugs currently available or in development are designed to block some of the mutations that cause tumors to grow. By targeting tumor gene mutations with these “smart drugs”, our doctors are beginning to understand how to destroy cancer cells in some patients' tumors without traditional chemotherapy and radiation.
We are among a select few centers in the world to offer comprehensive genotyping of thoracic cancers as part of our pathological assessment. Genotyping allows us to test each tumor for certain genetic mutations, which can reveal weaknesses in an individual’s cancer. We can exploit these weaknesses using targeted therapies. Understanding genetics of a tumor helps us choose the most effective treatment for a patient’s cancer.
We are among a select few health care institutions in the world to offer comprehensive genotyping of thoracic cancers as a routine component of our pathological assessment. This genotyping allows us to test each tumor for certain genetic mutations. These genetic markers indicate certain weaknesses in an individual’s cancer; weaknesses that we can exploit using targeted therapies. By understanding the genetics behind each lung tumor we are able to choose the specific type of treatment that will be most effective for that particular patient’s cancer. Learn more about genotyping.
Our team of dedicated surgeons treats some of the most challenging and complex cases from across the US. We focus only on thoracic surgery and have pioneered many now-standard procedures used to treat thoracic cancers. The team provides state-of-the-art evaluation, treatment and post-surgical services, including:
We offer many minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as:
Specialists in the Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program employ high-precision radiation therapy to treat patients with lung cancers and other cancers in the chest with the overarching goal of causing little or no side effects. Pioneering technological advances for the benefit of our patients include:
Our radiation oncologists are part of a highly specialized multidisciplinary team that closely coordinates the care of each patient. Cutting-edge research aims at increasing the efficacy and reducing the side effects of radiation therapy as well as integrating radiation with revolutionizing biological drug therapies.
For more information, please see the Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program.
Our team approach ensures that every patient benefits from a personalized, coordinated and compassionate treatment plan that includes leading experts across many specialties.
Members of your care team meet regularly with you and contact your referring physician on an ongoing basis to ensure clear communication and a seamless coordination of care.
Director, Center for Thoracic Cancers
Clinical Director, Center for Thoracic Cancers
Director for Thoracic Radiation Oncology
Chief, Thoracic Surgery
Thoracic Oncology Director, Thoracic Surgery
Cancer that begins in any part of the lungs is called lung cancer. The two basic types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. There is also a third type of lung cancer that is very rare, called mesothelioma.
The American Cancer Society estimated that about 222,500 new cases of lung cancer (both non-small cell and small cell) would be diagnosed in the United States in 2017. It is important to remember that great strides have been made in our understanding of lung cancer. Ways to treat lung cancer have advanced even from just a few years ago.
While you are being evaluated for a diagnosis of lung cancer you may undergo:
Surgery for lung cancer may involve removal of:
Other common treatment options for lung cancer include the following:
Learn more about Lung Cancer
Clinical trials are research studies which are conducted to answer questions. They can test many things including new drugs, new combinations of drugs, or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new or different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines with specific criteria for eligibility and treatment. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment.
The Mass General Hospital Thoracic Oncology Program has a very active clinical research portfolio with the latest, top-notch investigational studies covering a wide spectrum of thoracic cancer care. The ultimate goal of clinical research is to improve the outcomes for all of our patients. If you are eligible for a clinical trial, your physician will offer you the chance for participation. We will comprehensively review the logistics and purpose of the trial and also offer alternatives including the standard of care.
The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Learn more about the Lazarex program.
Watch Dr. Alice Shaw discuss two recent studies on next-generation ALK inhibitors for ALK-positive lung cancer patients.
MGH Thoracic Oncology Program at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting
The 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting took place in Chicago, IL, between June 2-6, 2017. The MGH Thoracic Oncology Program was well represented across multiple platforms:
MGH Thoracic Oncology Program at the 2017 AACR Annual Meeting
The 2017 AACR Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on April 1-5, 2017. The MGH Thoracic Oncology Program was represented in several research presentations, including the following:
View thoracic oncology team members honored for their commitment to the fight against cancer.
Justin Gainor, MD
Natasha Johnson, MSW, LICSW
Inga T. Lennes, MD, MPH, MBA
Lecia Sequist, MD, MPH
Alice T. Shaw, MD, PhD
Jennifer Temel, MD
Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, MD, was selected for the Merit Award by the Conquer Cancer Foundation. This award recognizes her research on the topic of early-stage ALK-positive lung cancer. Her work will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. Congratulations, Ibiayi!
Jennifer Temel, MD, was granted the MGH research scholar award, an ECOR faculty award. This program recognizes outstanding MGH research faculty pursuing research. Congratulations, Jennifer!
Zofia Piotrowska, MD, was honored with the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS IRG) by MGH. The ACS IRG grant is a competitive research award that supports promising new cancer research by junior faculty members. Congratulations, Zosia!
Jessica J. Lin, MD, was presented with the Young Investigator Award by PrIME Oncology, recognizing her research in ALK- and ROS1-rearranged lung cancers. Congratulations, Jessica!
Jennifer Temel, MD was presented with the prestigious 2017 “Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in Palliative Care” by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) for her many contributions to the scientific research in the field of hospice and palliative care. Dr. Temel is the fourteenth awardee to be presented with this annual designation, and is recognized for her dedication and accomplishments in palliative care research. Congratulations, Jennifer!
If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our doctors, please call the Center for Thoracic Cancers at 617-724-4000.
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