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Support Services - Lung Cancer

Support Services - Lung Cancer

Support Services - Lung Cancer

We strive to set the standard for excellence in providing personalized cancer care to the tri-state area.   We understand the importance of providing access to a variety of support services. 

Lung Tumor Conference and Cancer Registry

St. Mary’s Cancer Registry coordinates the bi-weekly Lung Tumor Conference, collects data on type and stage of cancers, treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up.  In 2011, St. Mary’s marked the 37th anniversary of St. Mary’s Accreditation with Commendation from the American College of Surgeons.  Only one in every four hospitals that treat cancer patients receive this special approval.  St. Mary’s has received this prestigious accreditation every year since 1974.

We are committed to helping our patients survive their cancers so they too can leave a legacy of hope for those who follow them.

  • Quality care close to home
  • Early detection and intervention
  • Access to a full range of treatment options including minimally invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery
  • Comprehensive care offering a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment
  • A multispecialty team approach to coordinate the best treatment options available to cancer patients
  • A Cancer Registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers, treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up
  • Access to cancer-related information, education and support
  • Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care
  • Information about ongoing cancer clinical trials and new treatment options

Long Term Study:  Lung Cancer

In 2011, St. Mary’s Oncology Committee selected cases of lung cancer from the year 2005 for long-term study.  We analyzed a total of 135 cases.  Among both men and women in the United States, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and remains the most deadly.  It accounts for more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined.
Smoking undoubtedly is the number one cause of lung cancer.  It is estimated that about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of lung cancer deaths in women can be attributed to smoking.  Smokers are 10-20 times more likely to get lung cancer.

The risk of lung cancer increases with age and is greater in men than women; our analysis supported these findings.  Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of lung cancer are seen in many conditions, meaning lung cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages.  This is evidenced by our statistics and those in the national cancer database statistics.  As in most cancers, survival is better in patients diagnosed at an early stage.

Lung cancer is separated into two main histologic types:  non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), such as squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).  Small cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 15% of all lung cancers, which is similar to our statistics for cases from 2005.  The majority of lung cancers are non-small cell carcinomas.  There have been some advances in the treatment of more advanced, stage III and IV, non-small cell lung cancers with targeted therapies.  Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations are seen in 10% to 20% of patients with lung cancer.  Patients with the EGFR mutation have been reported to respond to selective anti-EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor drugs such as erlotinib.  Patients with EGFR mutations receiving erlotinib have demonstrated prolonged survival outcomes compared to patients receiving conventional chemotherapy.  Avastin, an angiogenesis inhibitor, has also shown to prolong survival in those patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.  Many robust clinical trials are underway to identify novel targets to individualize therapy for the treatment of NSCLC.  It is hoped these advances will translate quickly into meaningful benefits for patients.  Treatment for SCLC remains surgery for stage 1 disease.  Most patients present with limited or extensive SCLC disease, where radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the main treatment modalities.

Our five-year relative survival for all stages of 22% is slightly better than the national statistic of 16%.  Overall, patients at St. Mary’s were diagnosed slightly earlier than the national average in 2005.  This increase in five-year relative survival is probably a reflection of the earlier stage at diagnosis.  The physicians, nurses and ancillary staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center continue to work in a coordinated fashion to achieve an earlier and better diagnosis of patients with lung cancer so they may benefit from the best surgical, radiation and chemotherapy treatments available.

Insert the following charts:  Age at Diagnosis, AJCC Stage at Diagnosis, Stage Comparison w/NCDB and 5 year Relative Survival All Stages (from 2011 Cancer Report

Local Lung Cancer Statistics

Nationally, the incidence of lung cancer continues to decline significantly in men and the incidence rate in women is approaching a plateau after a long period of increase.  Lung cancer still accounts for the most cancer-related deaths in both men and women nationally and locally.  These trends in lung cancer incidence and mortality reflect the decrease in smoking rates over the past 30 years. 

In 2007 (the most recent year of completed statistics), St. Mary's diagnosed 168 cases of lung cancer, representing 24% of our cancer cases in men and 14% in women, which is well above the national norm of 15% for lung cancer incidence.  Cigarette smoking still remains the most important risk factor for lung cancer along with occupational or environmental exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, asbestos, certain metals and chemicals, radiation, air pollution and a history of TB.  Early detection methods have not yet proven to reduce mortality.  However, newer tests, such as low-dose spiral computer tomography (CT) scans and molecular markers in sputum, have produced promising results in detecting lung cancers earlier. 

Treatment options are determined by the type and stage of cancer and include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted biological therapies such as bevacizmab and erlotinib.  Improvements in surgical techniques and combined therapies have increased one-year relative survival from 35% in 1975-1979 to 41% in 2000-2003.  However, the five-year survival rate for all stages is only 15%.  The survival rate is 49% nationally for cases detected when the disease is localized.  However only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed at an early stage.

© 2014 St. Mary's Health System   |  3700 Washington Avenue  |  Evansville, IN 47750  |  (812) 485-4000