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Lung Cancer Treatment



Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment. It also plays a key role in the process of diagnosing cancer and finding out how far it has spread (staging). Advances in surgical techniques have allowed surgeons to operate on a growing number of patients with good outcomes. When a surgeon has to cut into the body to operate, it is called invasive surgery. Today, operations that involve less cutting and damage to nearby organs and tissues (minimally invasive surgery) often can be done to remove tumors while saving as much normal tissue and function as possible.


Types of Surgery


BrachyMesh brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy used to treat cancer. Unlike external beam therapy, in which high-energy x-ray beams generated by a machine are directed at the tumor from outside the body, brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds contained within a sterilized mesh a little larger than the size of a deck of playing cards, at the surgical site. After several weeks or months, the radioactivity level of the seeds eventually diminishes to nothing. The inactive seeds then remain at this site in the body, with no lasting effect on the patient.

“Brachytherapy has been in use for quite some time, and it has proven to be a successful treatment. We’re taking advantage of resurrecting an older but improved technology for use in lung cancers with excellent results,” said Gregory Cooley, MD, Radiation Oncologist from St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers.


Medical Oncology

Our team of oncology experts assess and monitor patients throughout their treatment sessions and are always available to answer questions. They specialize in cancer treatment through medications, such as chemotherapy, hormones and pain management medication.

Medical oncologists care for the patient from the moment of diagnosis throughout the course of treatment and past recovery. The focus of medical oncology is on “systemic therapy”, or providing treatments against cancer that has or could spread to other parts of the body, or in providing treatments to help shrink a cancerous tumor so the surgeon can more effectively remove it. Our experts also coordinate treatment given by other specialists.

Radiation Oncology

The Radiation Oncology Department of St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers is a leader in treating many forms of cancer. We utilize state-of-the-art radiation therapy equipment and computerized treatment planning systems, including Trilogy™,the world’s most powerful and precise cancer treatment technology at both of our Green Bay locations. But most importantly, we’re a group of highly qualified professionals with diverse skills who can work in concert. Our cancer center and radiation oncologists have a proven track record of introducing and successfully implementing new technology long before others in the state. Our team of radiation oncologists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, registered nurses and radiation physicists all work together toward one common goal: To provide our cancer patients with state-of-the-art therapy in a caring, compassionate environment.

Radiation therapy is often used in the treatment of lung cancer. External beam radiation using IMRT and IGRT may be delivered over the course of several weeks. Alternatively, some lung cancers can be treated in one to five treatments using stereotactic body radiation (SBRT).

Certain cases may also benefit from a brachytherapy procedure called ‘brachymesh’ where radiation is provided by placing radioactive seeds internally at the surgical location. After several weeks or months, the radioactivity level of the seeds eventually diminishes to nothing. The inactive seeds then remain at this site in the body, with no lasting effect on the patient. The thoracic surgeon and radiation oncologist collectively determine if this procedure is the best option for the patient based upon the patient’s disease and other available options.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a new type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapies:

  • Attack the cancer cells' inner workings – the programming that makes them different from normal, healthy cells
  • Alter the way a cancer cell grows, divides, repairs itself, or interacts with other cells
  • A major focus of cancer research today
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