Published on June 26, 2017

Complete care for lung cancer

Five things to know about Nazareth’s lung cancer program

Lung cancerJust hearing the words lung cancer can be stressful and frightening. And it can be confusing when you’re suddenly faced with scheduling tests and making choices about your care.

At Nazareth Hospital, we offer a full-service lung cancer program that includes screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. Our highly skilled and compassionate providers help people with lung cancer at every step of their journey with this complex disease.

Here are five key facts to know about the program if you or a loved one is ever diagnosed with lung cancer.

A navigator will guide you.

Often the first step in a diagnosis of lung cancer is something suspicious seen on a screening test. (See the sidebar about screening for lung cancer.) When that happens, our cancer nurse navigator will help you understand the next steps, such as whether you need a biopsy or other tests.

“The nurse navigator is there with you from the very beginning and all through your journey,” says Michele Zappile-Lucis, DPT, OCS, Administrative Director of Oncology at Mercy.

A lung cancer team will discuss your diagnosis.

A tumor board made up of cancer experts meets to discuss each person’s case and the best treatment options. And you can meet with these experts too. They include:

  • Medical and radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists

Once your care plan is in place, the nurse navigator is there again to help set up your treatments. “We hold your hand and walk you through every step,” Michele says. “You’re never alone.”

You have access to the latest lung cancer treatments.

When caught early, lung cancer can often be treated with video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), which is minimally invasive, says Alfred Proto, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

During VATS, the surgeon removes the tumor through small chest incisions. “With VATS you spend less time in the hospital and have less post-surgery pain and a quicker recovery,” Dr. Proto says.

VATS and other lung cancer surgeries are offered through a partnership with St. Mary Medical Center, which like Nazareth is part of Trinity Health. Other treatments for lung cancer available at Nazareth Hospital include:

  • The most up-to-date chemotherapies and radiation therapies, including targeted radiation that spares healthy tissue
  • Access to clinical trials for leading-edge treatments through the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

You’re supported all the way.

People being treated for cancer can experience many forms of distress—from fear about the future to worries about doctor bills.

“We want you to focus on getting well,” Michele says. “We don’t want you to have to worry about these other issues. Let us worry for you.”

That’s why our lung cancer program includes a full array of support services, such as a dedicated oncology social worker, a nutritionist to help you stay strong through treatment, a cancer rehab physical therapist and support groups.

A survivorship program can help you stay well.

You will continue to receive support even after your treatment ends. Your nurse navigator will complete a full survivorship care plan for you—which will include tips for healthy eating and exercise—and will schedule all necessary follow-up visits with your doctors.

“We’re your trusted health partner for life,” Michele says.