Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program
At St. Joseph Hospital, we strive to find and treat lung cancer early because the sooner we can start treatment, the better the chances for a full recovery.
To do this, we stay on top of the most recent clinical trials and use the latest medical developments. At our Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program we use minimally invasive techniques to do a full evaluation and then provide you with an easily understood and complete treatment plan. Because we find early indicators and address lung cancer issues like smoking early, we are helping people live longer.
We treat and work with you to overcome any of the following:
- 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
We know that lung cancer and other cancers of the thoracic area are complicated diseases that may require various treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, immunotherapy and interventional radiology. At St. Joseph Hospital, you can feel confident that we are using the most current, evidence-based practices in a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Because we know this can be a stressful time we’ll also help you navigate the emotional aspect of treatment following guidelines set up by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).
We are committed to offering you the best care available and want you to feel confident in our care. Some of the ways we do this is by:
- Including and coordinating with a variety of specialists to build your unique treatment plan
- Making sure we have the latest clinical trials and treatment options
- Monitoring care and following up with you well after you have completed treatment
- Providing you and your family emotional and psychological support during this time
- Continuing to improve how we can make your experience better as together we conquer lung-related cancers.
With these commitments, The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital is recognized and re-accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC).
We are also ranked as one of the nation’s High Performing Hospitals in Lung Cancer Surgery by U.S. News & World Report
The St. Joseph Hospital Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program is led by Program Director John Maurice, MD.
Our goal is to give you the best treatment and the best chance to beat your lung or thoracic disease. From diagnostics and screening, to cutting-edge robotic surgeries and therapy, we have you covered. Some of the options your physician may recommend include:
A standard procedure that can detect cancers before they are visible on chest x-rays. We have found that more than 80% of cancers found using Low-dose CT(LDCT) lung screening (LDCT) have been found in the earliest stages and have the highest probability of cure.
To schedule a low-dose CT lung screening, please call 714-744-8705.
We have several other tests that use the most up-to-date technology and state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, to diagnose lung cancer or other thoracic disease. Along with low-dose CT screening and chest x-ray, these might include:
- CT and MRI Scans (computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) to produce detailed, three-dimensional images that help determine size, shape and location of a tumor.
- PET Scans (positive emission tomography) to capture images of changes in metabolism caused by growth of abnormal cells.
- Digital PET/CT scanned images which are fused together with the CT to show anatomical details and the PET providing metabolic activity of the tumor.
- Sputum cytology is an examination of cough-expelled mucus.
If we can diagnose lung cancer at the earliest stage, the average five-year survival rate is 92%. One of our newest ways to obtain diagnostic samples early is with the ION endoluminal system. ION is a robotic-assisted platform that may help physicians get tissue samples from deep inside the lung using a very minimally invasive biopsy technique. The system has an ultra-thin, ultra-maneuverable catheter that can be navigated with stability beyond manual techniques far into the peripheral lung.
- Bronchoscopy: a tube is inserted into the lungs to view the lower airways and remove a tissue sample from the tumor.
- Cervical Mediastinoscopy: a tube is inserted into the sternum area to determine if cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the trachea.
- Thoracentesis: a needle is inserted to extract ﬂuid collecting between lungs and chest wall to determine if there are any cancerous cells.
- Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy: a tube is inserted between ribs to see and remove a larger sample of the tumor.
Your physician may decide that your cancer treatment plan starts with surgery, or surgery may be used after chemotherapy, radiation or both have been used to shrink your tumor. We perform several kinds of lung cancer surgery including:
- Segmental resection (removing a small part of the lung)
- Lobectomy (removing a single lung lobe)
- Bilobectomy (removing more than one lobe)
- Pneumonectomy (removing the entire lung)
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs in various combinations to destroy cancer cells that have spread from the original cancer site. Our oncology team selects from the more than 100 different chemotherapy drugs available to find just the right formula for your treatment plan. Whenever possible they will select from some of the newer drugs that leave you with fewer side effects and can help increase white and red cell blood counts, decrease nausea and vomiting and increase appetite.
For patients with advanced lung cancer, your oncology team may prescribe targeted immunotherapy. This is a treatment where your own disease-fighting immune system is used to block cancer cells from making the proteins that stop your immune system cells from doing their job.
This therapy uses high-energy x-rays to shrink tumors, relieve pain and pressure, decrease symptoms, and improve your quality of life by killing or reducing cancer cells in your body.
Our radiation oncologists will design the best treatment plan for your type of cancer. These expert practitioners may recommend:
- Radiotherapy for both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer
- Prophylactic cranial irradiation to provide low dose whole brain irradiation and reduce the risk of developing brain metastases
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) to precisely target tumors with focused, high dose radiation that can minimize damage to normal tissue
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) where electrodes are used to heat and destroy abnormal tissue to safely and effectively treat patients who have inoperable lung tumors or in very speciﬁc tumors of late stage lung cancer
- High dose rate brachytherapy where the source of the radiation is applied directly to the tumor
Both here at St. Joseph Hospital and around the world, new treatments and procedures are constantly being developed. We want to provide you with access to these trials, many of which are only available here at the St. Joseph Hospital Lung and Thoracic Oncology Program in the Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment (CCPT). You may view our clinical trials site to see current studies and work with your oncology team to determine if any may be an appropriate part of your plan. Learn more about our research and clinical trials.
If you have had or will have lung surgery, we will encourage you to work with our St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Rehabilitation experts. Our rehab team will help you design a rehab program to improve your daily self-care and endurance. One typical long-term goal is to get you walking for 30 minutes without difficulty.
Our team will help you build a program especially for you that includes respiratory therapy treatment and physical therapy exercise. This plan will include:
- 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
While undergoing treatment we want to help you focus on healing. For us that means giving you top notch care and also supporting your whole person: body, mind and spirit. To do this we have various resources available to help you, and your family, be as healthy as possible, calm your mind and strengthen your spirit.
We offer these same resources for our community, helping them stay informed about prevention, screening, early detection, and the latest advances in cancer treatment, as well as regularly scheduled support groups.
To reduce your risk of lung cancer and heart disease, one of the most important—and sometimes the most difficult—health choices you can make is to quit smoking. The good news is that once you quit, normal cells will replace abnormal cells, which will reduce your risk of lung cancer, one smoke-free year at time.
Our free classes, offered in partnership with the Orange County Health Care Agency Tobacco Use Prevention Program, are a great way for you to help yourself prevent lung cancer. Classes are in English, Spanish and Vietnamese and focus on behavior counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy. Each class will help you identify your tobacco triggers, develop a personalized coping strategy, 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: