Treatment options for lung cancer on today’s House Call

Because lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths within the United States, the medical field has been working hard to discover effective screening methods for the disease.

Recently, low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening is being used to detect lung cancer in certain high-risk patient populations.

According to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) results released by the National Cancer Institute in 2011, screening individuals (in the appropriate high-risk patient population) with low dose CT scans could reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent compared to screening with regular chest x-rays.

By detecting lung cancer at an early stage, surgical treatment can often times play a curative role.

Lobectomies, a common surgical procedure that removes the lobe(s) of the lung in which the cancerous tumor(s) are located, are now being performed less invasively, with scopes and smaller incisions.

Surgically removing the cancerous mass in early stage lung cancer has been shown to increase five year survival rates by 75 percent.

Later stage lung cancer cases often require a combination of surgical and chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.

Stereotactic radiation is now being used for patients who are not candidates for surgery to deliver radiation straight to the tumor to reduce and/or eradicate the mass.

Because lung cancer treatment must be individualized to each patient, Cone Health Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating the disease, bringing together a dedicated team of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and other cancer-related medical professionals to develop the best treatment plans for each, individual patient.

Physician Background:
Dr. Edward Gerhardt is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon and a member of the Cone Health medical staff.

Dr. Gerhardt is a 1981 graduate of University of Virginia Medical School. He completed his residency in General Surgery and fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt University.