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Expert Lung or Chest Cancer Treatment by GMC Specialists

After one of our cancer specialists at the Cancer Institute at GMC makes a diagnosis of lung or chest cancer and determines the stage (extent), our team will work together to determine a treatment plan. Based on your individual needs, treatment may include surgery, robotic surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of treatments. Your doctor will explain potential side effects, as well as the pros and cons of each treatment.

Surgical Expertise for Traditional and Advanced Procedures

In more traditional or open lung cancer surgery, the amount of tissue removed depends on the stage of the lung cancer. Open surgery allows doctors to see and inspect your organs while operating. With the skilled surgical expertise at the Cancer Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center, your surgeon may remove:

  • A small, wedge-shaped portion of the lung containing the cancerous cells along with a small amount of the surrounding healthy tissue (wedge resection).
  • A larger portion of the lung (more than a wedge resection) but does not remove the entire lobe (segmentectomy).
  • One lobe of the lung that contains the cancerous cells (lobectomy).
  • A cancerous lobe of the lung along with part of the bronchus (air passage) that attaches to it. The remaining lobe is then reconnected to the remaining segment of the bronchus. This procedure preserves part of a lung and is an alternative to removing the entire lung (sleeve lobectomy).
  • The entire lung (pneumonectomy).

Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery

Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery, or thoracoscopy, is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat chest conditions at the Cancer Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center. A tiny camera called a thoracoscope and surgical instruments are inserted into the chest through small incisions. The camera takes images inside your body and sends them to a video monitor. Your surgeon is able to view the instruments and the images inside the chest on a video monitor during the operation.

Endobronchial Therapy

Endobronchial Therapy is a treatment for patients who have a tumor that is obstructing the airway and interfering with breathing.

  • Photodynamic Therapy is a treatment in which a photosensitizing drug and a special light are used to kill cancer cells to help open up the airway.
  • Endobronchial Brachytherapy is when a radioactive source is placed within the airway, treatment is delivered, and the source is removed the same day. You may receive several treatments.

Radiation Therapy

As a patient at the Cancer Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center, your cancer team may recommend radiation therapy to be used in addition to surgery and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells or as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms caused by cancer. External radiation is the most common type of radiation for lung cancer which may cause side effects, depending on the dose and type of radiation. You also may experience issues with your esophagus or your ability to swallow. With a range of treatment options, your cancer team may recommend:

  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy is used to improve the precision and accuracy of radiation treatment delivery. The physician can image the tumor prior to each treatment and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is not actual surgery but SBRT refers to radiation treatment of tumors outside the skull.
  • Brachytherapy is for airway obstruction. A radioactive source is placed within the airway, treatment is delivered, and the source is removed the same day. A patient may receive several treatments.

Chemotherapy & Targeted Therapy

  • Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment to destroy fast-growing cells. There are more than 100 different medications that may be used in chemotherapy, and they can be given intravenously or orally. Side effects of chemotherapy range from hair loss and nausea to fatigue. At the Cancer Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center, our team works together to determine the best treatment path for your individual type of cancer.
  • Targeted therapy (molecularly targeted therapy) is often used in addition to chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is a type of medication that blocks specific molecules on specific cells required for the growth and spread of cancer. Targeted therapy may be delivered orally or through IV infusion.

If You Have Questions about Cancer Treatment

We understand that any phase of cancer treatment can be overwhelming and you may have questions. At Gwinnett Medical Center, our Cancer Institute has cancer specific Nurse Navigators - here to help with any of your needs. Please contact us at 678-312-3100 - or complete our convenient online form. If you have specific questions about lung or chest cancers, please contact Nancy McCormick, RN, BSN - GMC Cancer Institute Thoracic Nurse Navigator.