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The Center for Thoracic Cancers offers a collaborative, caring approach to the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer patients. Consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report, we provide the latest, most effective treatments including many innovative approaches to clinical care and promising new therapies, including:
Our thoracic cancer pathologists are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of lung cancer. They participate in weekly tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient’s unique cancer with the entire treatment team to help guide care planning.
All members of our team of diagnostic radiologists are nationally recognized for their expertise. They 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:
For many patients diagnosed with lung cancer, administering chemotherapy drugs may be the most effective treatment. Some new cancer drugs that are currently available or in development are designed to block some of the mutations and pathways that cause tumor cells to proliferate. By targeting tumor gene mutations with these “smart drugs”, our doctors are beginning to understand how to eradicate malignant cells in some patients' tumors without traditional chemotherapy and radiation.
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 for primary lung adenocarcinomas.
Our team of dedicated surgeons receives referrals from around New England and the U.S., treating some of the most challenging and complex cases. Our surgeons focus only on thoracic surgery and have pioneered many of now-standard procedures used to treat thoracic cancers. The team provides state-of-the-art evaluation, treatment and post-surgical services, including:
We also offer a number of minimally invasive surgical procedures to aid in treating thoracic malignancies, such as:
Our radiation oncologists use the most advanced therapies to treat lung cancer, many of which are available at only a few select hospitals. Radiation therapy may be given alone, or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Depending on the nature of a patient’s cancer, our team may suggest:
All patients at the Center for Thoracic Cancers scheduled for radiation therapy will undergo a 4-D CT scan for pre-treatment planning. The fourth dimension, time, refers to the movement a tumor might have due to the patient’s breathing. If planning reveals that a tumor is likely to move significantly during treatment, our radiation oncologists may use respiratory gating – a technique designed to deliver radiation only when the tumor is in the exhale phase of breathing to help spare healthy surrounding tissue.
Learn more about radiation therapy.
Our team approach ensures that every patient benefits from a personalized, coordinated and compassionate treatment plan that includes leading experts across many specialties. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your lung cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies. Your care team may include:
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.
Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
Lung cancer is cancer that usually starts in the lining of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs), but can also begin in other areas of the respiratory system, including the trachea, bronchioles, or alveoli.
The Cancer Center is a leading provider of clinical trials in New England for lung cancer, making clinical trial evaluation of new therapies a key treatment option. The goal of the clinical trial is to seek and answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat lung cancer.
Our research program in lung cancer is a multifaceted effort designed to better understand cancer biology, discover new therapies and improve treatment. In addition to our extensive research into smart drugs and immunotherapy, our physician-scientists are also conducting epidemiological research on the genetic basis of lung and esophageal cancers in families, which hopefully will lead to more targeted treatments based on genetics. We also have a special focus on treating elderly patients with thoracic cancers. Our research program in esophageal and all thoracic cancers is one of New England’s largest, allowing us to bring promising new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.
Learn more about research at the Cancer Center.
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