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If you have been recently diagnosed with lung cancer, you may benefit from getting started on treatment right away. The New Hanover Regional Medical Center Lung Program has been designed to streamline the process of evaluating your cancer, developing a treatment plan, and beginning your care as quickly as possible. Not only is this more convenient for you, it is also a more effective approach to fighting cancer.
Lung Program Specialists
The Lung Program’s success comes from multiple physician specialists closely collaborating to evaluate your condition and recommend a course of treatment. Prior to your appointment, these specialists meet at NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center to review your medical history, symptoms and test results. Members of the team then meet with you to discuss their findings and talk about treatment options. This can be done during your first visit so you can consolidate what otherwise would have required multiple appointments with specialists.
Your team may include:
- Thoracic surgeon, who can perform biopsies and surgically remove cancerous tumors from the lungs
- Medical oncologist, who will manage treatment with chemotherapy and other medications
- Radiation oncologist, who will manage treatment through radiation methods, including IMRT and stereotactic radiotherapy
- Pulmonologist, who treats lung diseases and aids in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer
- Radiologists, who interpret your medical images, such as CT scans, PET scans and MRIs
- Pathologists, who will examine tissues, check and interpret lab results
Complete Care and Coordination
In addition to your physician specialists, you will be supported by oncology nurses, who will help administer chemotherapy and monitor your side effects, and a nutritionist who will help you choose the foods that will help give you strength. Your nurse coordinator will also be an important resource for you. She is often your initial contact and will work with you to schedule appointments and connect you with resources that can help, including support groups, financial counselors and social workers.
Types of Treatment
Your care plan may include any or all of the following:
- Surgery: Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to remove the cancer and the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Radiation: This therapy concentrates high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer. It is effective when tumors are small and cancer is confined to one area of the body.
- Chemotherapy: Medication given orally or by IV helps fight the cancer through your blood stream.
Advances in medication are helping reduce side effects for many people undergoing treatment. However, you may still experience some side effects. The intensity fluctuates from patient to patient and sometimes, from visit to visit. We will work with you and your primary care provider to minimize side effects.
As you go through the ups and downs of cancer treatment, you’ll benefit from the support of others. Whether it’s a friend to hold your hand during treatment, a church member to cook some meals or a family member to watch the kids, know that it’s OK to accept help. If you need additional support, your nurse coordinator will always be available to help you find additional resources.