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If you'd like to schedule an appointment for a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.

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Home > Cancers We Treat > Lung Cancer > Lung Cancer Treatments

Lung Cancer Treatments

For lung cancer patients, surgery offers the best chance of cure and is the standard lung cancer treatment for patients with early stage (or limited) disease. This surgery is called a lobectomy, the surgical removal of a large section of lung.

While traditional open-chest lobectomies for lung cancer require extensive recovery time, there are other options.

TomoTherapy

TomoTherapy is one of the world’s most advanced radiation treatment systems for the treatment of cancerous tumors

This highly sophisticated system provides safe, effective radiation treatment.

TomoHD™An image of doctor standing in front of a TomoHD machine

We're one of the first cancer centers in the country to offer the latest version of TomoTherapy, called TomoHD™.

How It Works

TomoHD is more versatile than traditional TomoTherapy. It allows the treatment team to target the tumor in two different ways:

  • Helical mode: Tens of thousands of targeted, narrow radiation beamlets rotate 360 degrees around the patient. As the beam rotates, it is constantly adjusted to produce a dose of radiation that’s designed to fit the exact size and shape of the tumor, all while avoiding nearby healthy tissue.
  • Direct mode: A stationary beam is delivered at precise angles.

Treatment is based on a carefully customized plan that’s tailored to each patient's unique case. Radiation is delivered painlessly and precisely to the tumor site.

Two Locations to Get Treatment

Once patients receive a treatment plan, they can get TomoHD treatment at either the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center or Culpeper Regional Hospital, where there is a specially synched (or "twinned") TomoHD system.

Our Expertise

At UVA, we have a long history of providing TomoTherapy treatment. We received the 12th Helical TomoTherapy unit worldwide. Our program is led by a team of radiation oncologists, surgeons, physicists, dosimetrists (experts who design radiation therapy plans), radiation therapists and nurses who meet weekly to discuss all patient cases in order to improve patient care.

Respiratory Gating

Delivers precise treatment to areas in the body, such as the lungs, where tumors can move as a patient breathes.

The VATS Procedure

UVA's thoracic surgeons perform the minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) lobectomy removal of lung cancers whenever possible. For patients with early-stage small cell lung cancer, we are able to do this in over 95% of cases.

UVA is one of the most experienced hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic in performing the VATs procedure. We use it for 50 to 60 percent of our lung cancer surgeries. VATS can also be used for other procedures, such as removing mediastinal tumors and cysts, benign esophageal tumors, thymectomies for small tumors and myasthenia gravis.

How It Works

During VATS lobectomy, the surgeon makes two or three small incisions, none larger than 5 cm, to remove the tumor. Then, a tiny camera (called a thorascope) is inserted into the chest. This camera transmits images to a video screen. The surgical team uses these images to guide them through the procedure.

The smaller incisions help reduce the recovery time and the length of the hospital stay. A typical VATS lobectomy patient has a hospital stay of three days, compared with five or six days for a patient who has traditional lung cancer surgery.

The result: an equally effective procedure with much less discomfort for the patient.

Who is a Candidate for VATS?

At UVA, we evaluate each patient to determine whether or not surgery is an appropriate treatment method. Sometimes, patients will have radiation and/or chemotherapy first and then surgery will be considered.

A VATS lobectomy is an option for most patients with Stage I and II lung cancer and selected patients with Stage IIA lung cancer. Patients who've had previous chest surgery, including lung or heart surgery, can still be considered for VATS.

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.