Interventional Pulmonary Program
The interventional pulmonary program, led by Ganesh Krishna, M.D., is one of the most sophisticated programs of its kind in the country and is an integral part of the PAMF thoracic oncology program. We offer 22 different minimally invasive procedures and have the widest spectrum of minimally invasive techniques in the western United States. This program offers diagnostic, therapeutic and palliative treatment options for lung cancer, and diagnostic and treatment options for other lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and lung transplants.
Some of the procedures we offer to lung cancer patients include:
- Electromagnetic navigation-guided biopsies for lung nodules
- Endobronchial ultrasound for accurate lung cancer staging
- Airway recanalization for tumors
- Stent placement in airways to avoid breathing tubes collapsing or occlusion with cancer
- Medical thoracoscopy
- Fiducial placement for stereotactic body radiation treatment
- Other procedures that improve the efficiency and accuracy in diagnosing and staging lung cancers
In Figure 6, the 5-year survival rates of patients at PAMF with various stages of lung cancer are compared with survival rates of the national standard from 2007 through 2011 (1).
Figure 6. 5-Year Survival Rates of Patients with Lung Cancer by Stage at Diagnosis Compared With the U.S. National Standard (2007 through 2011, N = 795)
Reference group as reported in reference 2. Small patient numbers prevented calculation of the statistical significance of the data.
The survival rates of PAMF patients exceeded those of the national standard at all cancer stages, except for stage 3 lung cancer at Years 4 and 5. However, the patient numbers used in this analysis were small, which prevented determination of the statistical significance of these results.
The relatively poor outcomes for lung cancer patients, even for patients diagnosed at stages 1 or 2, reflect the difficulty in treating lung cancer and its tendency to relapse, despite multidisciplinary care.
However, advances in the use of molecular genetic markers to separate lung cancers into different subtypes have led to treatments tailored to specific lung cancer subtypes. In turn, this approach is producing improved outcomes. As our understanding of the basic biology of lung cancer deepens, we expect to acquire targeted, more effective and better-tolerated treatments for our patients.