INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. However, patients diagnosed early with the disease have more treatment options and a better chance of survival because of the collaborative teamwork at the Lung Clinic at the Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis.
Formed 10 years ago at the hospital’s Indianapolis campus, the multidisciplinary lung clinic ensures that every patient benefits from a personalized, coordinated and compassionate treatment plan. The program brings together experts in medical oncology, interventional pulmonology, radiation oncology, radiology, thoracic surgery, pathology and research/clinical trials.
"This unique multidisciplinary coordinated approach to cancer treatment is not only convenient for patients, saving several weeks of waiting and traveling for many office appointments, but it also allows all of our cancer specialists to create collaboratively the best treatment plan for patients," said Nadeem Ikhlaque, MD, medical director of the Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis Lung Cancer Program. "In the decade since the Lung Clinic was launched, we have treated more than 2,300 patients."
The management of patients with lung cancer is complex. The process begins with the lung nurse navigator, whom patients first see after their diagnosis. At Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis, that person is Cheryl Streeval, RN.
"I think of my role as the patient's personal concierge, who takes the patient's hand and goes down that road with them every step of the way," said Streeval. "That involves coordinating appointments with doctors, clinical specialists and steering patients to resources such as counselors, social workers, spiritual care and support groups."
About 81 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive because in the majority of cases the disease is not detected until advanced stages. While there are a variety of diagnostic options currently available for lung cancer, all have limitations on accuracy, safety or invasiveness. Such limitations can lead to false diagnoses or side effects such as collapsed lung and hemorrhage, which increase health costs and extend hospital stays.
Franciscan Health Cancer Center Indianapolis has all of the latest screening, diagnostic and treatment technologies available. And when summer begins, it will have another tool to detect and guide care for patients with lung cancer.
The Center will be the only hospital in the state to deploy the Auris Health Monarch™ Platform to help fight lung cancer. This system is used to view the inside of lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. The system integrates the latest advancements in technology, data science, software and endoscopy (the use of small cameras and tools to enter the body through its natural openings).
"This platform is more precise and provides improved reach, vision and control during bronchoscopic procedures, thereby offering more hopeful outcomes for our patients,” said interventional pulmonologist Faisal Khan, MD, who is leading the team that will begin using the Monarch system in May 2019.
By Joe Stuteville
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