Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, causing almost one-quarter of all cancer deaths each year. The ability to accurately diagnose and treat malignant growths as early as possible often can mean the difference between a terminal diagnosis and a full remission.
At St. Joseph Hospital, we employ the most recent medical developments and clinical trials to produce the best prognosis and outcomes for you. Lung cancer diagnoses and deaths are dropping due to advances in early detection and treatment, as well as from people stopping smoking. Our nationally recognized Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program, part of The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment, specializes in offering minimally invasive diagnostic evaluation and comprehensive treatment with compassion and concern, whether you have:
- Lung cancer including small-cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma
- Esophageal cancer
- Chest wall pain
- Mediastinum (cancer of the sternum and surrounding area between the two lungs)
- Carcinoid tumors
- Thymic diseases
- Metastatic diseases
Lung cancer and other cancers of the thoracic area are complicated diseases that may require one or more method for treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, immunotherapy and interventional radiology. At St. Joseph Hospital, we incorporate the most current, evidence-based practices into your treatment plan, which is individualized for your specific condition, with approaches that help calm your spirits and your calm. Our teams follow the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines when planning your treatment.
The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital recently received national recognition by earning re-accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This demonstrates our commitment to providing key quality cancer care to every patient.
- Comprehensive, patient-centered care through a multidisciplinary team approach
- Access to information on clinical trials and new treatment options
- Ongoing monitoring of care and lifelong patient follow-up
- Psychosocial support and survivorship care
- Continuous quality improvements in patient care
Ranked as one of the nation’s High Performing Hospitals in Lung Cancer Surgery by U.S. News & World Report, St. Joseph Hospital is a leader in lung cancer management, offering an unmatched level of sensitivity, expertise and comprehensive services to treat your condition.
St. Joseph Hospital’s Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program is led by John Maurice, MD, Program Director.
To provide you with the best care possible, our comprehensive teams of specialists provide treatments ranging from diagnostics and screenings to cutting-edge robotic surgeries and therapy. By combining innovative technology and compassionate personalized care, St. Joseph Hospital Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program offers you the best chance of beating your lung or thoracic disease. Options your physician may recommend include:
- Are you between the ages of 55-74?
- Do you have at least a 30-pack-year history of smoking? For example, smoking 2 packs per day for 15 years is 30 pack years.
- If you have stopped smoking, has it been less than 15 years since you last smoked?
As a Center of Excellence for Lung Cancer Screening, we are committed to providing the best technology available for early detection. Low-dose CT lung screening is standard procedure for patients who respond yes to the questions above and therefore are at high risk.
Low-dose CT lung screening (LDCT) has been shown to detect cancers not yet visible on chest x-rays. More than 80% of lung cancers detected with LDCT at St. Joseph Hospital have been found in the earliest stages, with a high probability of cure.
To schedule a low-dose CT lung screening, please call 714-744-8705.
An inclusive array of tests, employing the most up-to-date technology and state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, is available at St. Joseph Hospital to make and conﬁrm the diagnosis of lung cancer or other thoracic disease. Along with low-dose CT screening and chest x-ray, these include:
- CT and MRI Scans: computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging produce detailed, three-dimensional images that help determine size, shape and location of a tumor
- PET Scans: positive emission tomography capture images of changes in the body’s metabolism caused by growth of abnormal cells
- Digital PET/CT: scanned images are fused together with the CT showing anatomical detail and the PET providing metabolic activity of the tumor
- Sputum Cytology: examination of cough-expelled mucus
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. However, when diagnosed at the earliest stage (Stage IA-1), the average 5-year survival rate is 92%. Early-stage diagnosis can be difficult, but the Ion endoluminal system may help make it easier to obtain samples for diagnosis.
Ion is a robotic-assisted platform for minimally invasive biopsy in the lung. Ion enables physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung, addressing a challenging aspect of lung biopsy. It may also help patients avoid subsequent biopsies by helping enable a diagnosis.
The system features an ultra-thin, ultra-maneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung, and unprecedented stability enables the precision needed for biopsy compared to manual techniques.
- Bronchoscopy: a tube inserted into the lungs allowing visual examine of lower airways and removal of a tissue sample from the tumor
- Cervical Mediastinoscopy: a tube inserted into the sternum area to view tissues and determine whether cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the trachea
- Thoracentesis: a needle used to extract ﬂuid collecting between lungs and chest wall to determine if cancerous cells are present
- Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy: a tube inserted between ribs to view the tumor and remove a larger sample of the tumor
Surgery may be the ﬁrst type of treatment used to treat your cancer, or it may be used after chemotherapy, radiation or after both have been administered to shrink your tumor. Types of lung cancer surgery we perform include:
- Segmental Resection (removal of small part of lung)
- Lobectomy (single lung lobe removal)
- Bilobectomy (removal of more than one lobe)
- Pneumonectomy (removal of entire lung)
- Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery
Chemotherapy uses drugs to work throughout your body destroying cancer cells that have spread from the original cancer site. Currently, there are more than 100 chemotherapy drugs used most frequently in various combinations.
Our oncology team is highly experienced in selecting the right combination for each patient to increase the percentage of cancer cells destroyed while reducing your chance of resistance to any particular drug and toxicity to any one organ.
Many new drugs have been developed to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and provide a much better quality of life during treatment. These drugs can help increase white and red cell blood counts, decrease nausea and vomiting, and increase appetite.
If appropriate, your oncology team will prescribe targeted immunotherapy. In this treatment, your own disease-fighting immune system is used to attack your cancer. Immunotherapy blocks the process cancer cells use to make proteins that stop immune system cells from doing their job. It is typically used only for patients with advanced lung cancer.
This type of therapy involves the use of high-energy X-rays to shrink tumors, relieve pain and pressure, decrease symptoms, and improve quality of life by killing or reducing the amount of cancer cells in your body.
Because there are many forms of radiation therapy, one of our expert radiation oncologists will design the best treatment plan for your type of cancer. The expert practitioners at St. Joseph Hospital Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program may recommend:
- Radiotherapy: for both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer
- Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation: low dose whole brain irradiation to reduce the risk of developing brain metastases
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT): precise targeting of tumors with focused, high dose radiation that can minimize damage to normal tissue
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): electrodes are used to heat and destroy abnormal tissue, safely and effectively treating patients who have inoperable lung tumors or in very speciﬁc tumors of late stage lung cancer
- High Dose Rate Brachytherapy: the source of the radiation is applied directly to the tumor
New treatments and procedures are constantly being developed. We are proud to provide our patients with access to some of the latest trials, many of which are not available elsewhere. Please check the link to see what studies currently are being conducted at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment. Your oncology team will assist you in determining which may be appropriate for your diagnosis.
Prior to and following lung surgery, our patients work with the St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Rehabilitation experts. This program is speciﬁcally designed to improve your endurance in activities of daily living and self-care, with a goal of being able to walk for 30 minutes without diﬃculty.
Your program combines respiratory therapy treatment and physical therapy exercise treatment to cover:
- Pursed lip breathing techniques
- Pain management
- Posture awareness
- Blood pressure and pulse monitoring
- Proper body mechanics
- Shortness of breath and oxygen saturation while walking
- Aerobic conditioning
At St. Joseph’s Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment, we believe in treating the whole person: body, mind and spirit. That's why, in addition to expert clinical care, we offer you and your family the resources you need to calm the mind, strengthen the spirit and concentrate on what matters most—healing.
We are equally dedicated to helping our community stay informed about prevention, screening, early detection, and the latest advances in cancer treatment, as well as providing support for those affected by a cancer diagnosis through regularly scheduled support groups and community education offerings.
Quitting smoking is the most important health choice you can make to reduce your risks of lung cancer and heart disease. Each smoke-free year after you have quit reduces your risk of lung cancer, as normal cells replace abnormal cells.
Our caring medical professionals in our Lung and Thoracic Cancer Program are committed to helping you quit smoking. That’s why we've partnered with the Orange County Health Care Agency Tobacco Use Prevention Program to offer free smoking cessation classes.
Classes are presented in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, and focus on behavior counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy. Each class helps participants identify their tobacco triggers, develop personalized coping strategies, manage stress, avoid relapse and maintain a tobacco-free lifestyle.
If you would like to register for our Smoking Cessation Program, please call 1-866-NEWLUNG (866-639-5864).
Our other support services include:
- Dedicated nurse navigator
- Cancer Genetic Counseling and Testing
- Registered Dietician
- Social Work
- Supportive and palliative care
- Survivorship Program
- Cancer Rehabilitation
- Research and Clinical Trials
- Financial Counselor
- Cancer Wellness Program