Recently, our Cancer Center designed two clinics for faster evaluation and better coordinated care of patients with a variety of thoracic (chest, lung and esophagus) abnormalities. The Lung Nodule Evaluation Center and Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program unite a team of experts in a variety of specialties, including thoracic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, medical and interventional pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists and pain experts, all with intimate knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung, chest and esophageal cancers.
Through early, expert diagnosis and intervention, the specialists at the Lung Nodule Evaluation Center can streamline the evaluation of patients with abnormal results from their chest CT scans. Since most of these patients will not have lung cancer, the Lung Node Evaluation Center multidisciplinary team identifies which patients are at risk for malignant tumors and require follow-up testing, assessment and treatment. Patients who are diagnosed with a chest malignancy and require treatment involving the use of radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, or a combination of the three may then be referred to the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program.
“When a patient is told that their CT scan shows a lung nodule, they immediately worry about lung cancer,” said Thoracic Surgeon Laurence Brinckerhoff, MD. “Since most patients are ultimately diagnosed with something much less severe, the most worrisome time is between the initial CT scan and the follow-up appointment. One of the major goals of the Lung Nodule clinic is to keep this period of anxiety as short as possible, within one week of the referral.”
The Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program is designed to expedite the care of patients who undergo multimodality therapy. The entire thoracic oncology team performs the patient’s initial evaluation at a single time and place, simplifying treatment. This process limits trips into downtown Boston and speeds up the initial assessment.
“The primary objective of the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program is to centralize care to accomplish as much as possible in one visit,” said Brinckerhoff. “This way, patients are spared going back and forth multiple times to see different specialists.”
To refer a patient or schedule an appointment at Tufts Cancer Center, please call 617-636-5291 or visit the Cancer Center website.