Surgical removal is the standard treatment for early and some more advanced lung cancers.  This can often be accomplished with small incisions using a camera to guide the surgeon, a technique called Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery or VATS.  Data suggest that patients recover quicker with less pain and fewer complications with VATS compared to traditional “open” surgery (which includes an incision and spreading of the rib space to perform resection).  A major multi-institutional trial suggested better long-term survival from lung cancer with VATS compared to open surgery, perhaps due to better tolerance of additional therapies (if needed) or less of a detrimental impact on the immune system with VATS, a finding that has been corroborated by several investigators in the United States and abroad.

BEAT THE SILENT KILLER

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Lung cancer affects smokers and non-smokers alike.  For people at risk of lung cancer, screening saves lives by diagnosing lung cancer before symptoms arise.  Early stage lung cancer is curable and a simple, non-invasive, quick test like low-dose chest CT reduces lung-cancer related death by 20%.  Talk with your physician today if you are over age 40 and have smoked or have been exposed to smoke or other carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances as described above.

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Dr. Andrea Wolf is Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health. She trained at the Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. Dr. Wolf directs the Women’s Lung Cancer Program and treats patients of both genders with cancerous and non-cancerous diseases of the chest at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.