Our Approach to Thoracic (Lung) Cancer Treatment

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Dana-Farber's Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology is committed to delivering the most innovative treatment options available to patients with all stages of lung and other thoracic cancers, with the goal of increasing survival and quality of life.

You can expect exceptional care from world-class specialists in an environment that supports the needs of patients and their families. Our care is based on the latest advances in tumor genetic testing, personalized lung cancer treatment, innovative surgical techniques, and other forms of therapy.

Personalized lung tumor therapy is at the heart of our treatment philosophy. Our medical oncologists are experts in identifying changes in the genes of tumors that fuel their growth. They can then use this knowledge to design and develop treatments that focus on the specific weaknesses of each patient's tumor.

Patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung are offered genetic analysis of their cancer tumor. This genetic profile, which identifies abnormal genes that drive an individual's tumor, can help identify promising treatments, including oral "targeted" drugs or specific clinical trials matched to the tumor's weak points. Our novel treatments include new drug combinations aimed at overcoming drug resistance.

Your treatment team may include thoracic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and pulmonologists. A comprehensive, coordinated team approach is important because the care of lung cancer patients can be extremely complex and often includes more than one type of treatment.

At all times, the team will focus on total care for your specific cancer, emphasizing pain management, pulmonary rehabilitation, wound care, nutrition, and your emotional and educational needs.

Accurate diagnosis is critical to ensuring the best treatment. Dana-Farber offers the latest diagnostic techniques available, such as high-resolution CT scanning, positron emission tomography (PET), advanced bronchoscopic imaging including navigational bronchoscopy, and fine needle aspirations/biopsies as well as other minimally invasive methods such as endobronchial ultrasound-directed biopsy.

Our thoracic surgical oncologists are members of Brigham and Women's Division of Thoracic Surgery and are leaders in lung cancer surgery techniques. They perform minimally invasive operations designed to decrease pain, shorten the delay for patients to return to work and activity, and limit scarring. They're also international experts in surgery for mesothelioma, a lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.

Our thoracic radiation oncologists use advanced lung radiation treatments and target tumors with image-guided, stereotactic techniques that focus the treatment on the tumor, sparing healthy tissue. We also offer several novel radiation therapy techniques, which include four-dimensional treatment planning (4D), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). These techniques may allow for safer, more effective treatment of a patient's cancer.