Patients with lung or esophageal cancer need a team of dedicated specialists who work closely to provide a unique treatment plan for each patient.
Often there are no apparent symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, however, as the cancer grows, common symptoms occur.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
- A cough that gets worse or does not go away
- Trouble breathing, such as shortness of breath
- Constant chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- A hoarse voice
- Frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia
- Extreme fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
In its early stage, esophageal cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, however, symptoms begin to occur.
Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
- Food gets stuck in the esophagus, and food may come back up
- Pain when swallowing
- Pain in the chest or back
- Weight loss
- A hoarse voice or cough that doesn’t resolve in 2 weeks
Mediastinal tumors are found in the chest cavity.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the lining of the chest or abdomen. Exposure to airborne asbestos particles can increase the risk for this type of cancer.
Geisinger’s Lung and Esophageal Cancer Clinic makes each patient the focus of an entire team of medical professionals and provides access to several physicians at once. This team approach allows treatment to begin weeks and even months earlier than consulting with each specialist individually. The earlier treatment begins, the greater the chance for survival.
The clinic treats cancers of the lung and esophagus, as well as mediastinal tumors and mesothelioma.
When surgery is recommended, patients may be eligible for Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Lobectomy (VATS). The advantage of VATS lobectomy includes:
- Smaller incision
- Faster recovery
- Less time in the hospital
- Less pain
- Increased safety
Traditional, or open, surgery is reserved for more complex cases including large tumors or tumors in difficult locations.
Physician Team Leaders:
- Matthew A. Facktor, MD, FACS, Thoracic Surgical Oncologist
- Rajiv Panikkar, MD, Medical Oncologist
- Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist
- Robert Rostock, MD, Radiation Oncologist
Rosemarie's Story Part I
Cancer patient and clinical trial participant Rosemarie describes the discover and diagnosis of her lung cancer.
Nutrition and Esophageal Cancer
It is important to meet your nutritional needs before, during, and after cancer treatment. Patients who get the right amount of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals typically feel better and have more energy.
Patients with esophageal cancer may find it hard to eat for many reasons. The cancer may make it difficult to swallow, foods may not taste good, and they may have poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as a result of treatment.
A registered dietitian can develop nutritional programs to address any of these concerns. The dietician even may suggest adding or subtracting certain types of foods from a diet and/or a change in portion size and meal times. Sometimes changing the texture, fiber, and fat content of foods can lessen the discomfort.
To combat a sore throat, the dietitian may recommend liquid meals, such as canned nutritional beverages, milk shakes, or smoothies. However, if swallowing becomes too difficult, nutrition can be received through a feeding tube and sometimes, is provided directly into the bloodstream through an IV.
Nutritionists trained in cancer care are available at Geisinger.