Thoracic Surgery/Interventional Pulmonology Service streamlines care for patients with lung cancer and other diseases

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The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute at ChristianaCare offers patients the unique opportunity to see a multidisciplinary team from Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology in the same service at one location.

The service is the only one in Delaware and one of just a handful in the United States that combines the expertise and capabilities of both specialties into one care team.

“Our collaborative model joining these two closely related specialties reflects the multidisciplinary focus of our entire cancer program and brings a new level of continuity in patient care,” said Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director at the Graham Cancer Center. “Our joint team offers patients the full range of pulmonology services without the hassle of multiple doctor visits at different locations.”

“By merging the services, we expedite the workup and management of both cancerous and noncancerous lung disease that may require intervention either with surgery or a bronchoscopic procedure,” said Thoracic Surgery Chief Charles Mulligan Jr., M.D.

“This is especially meaningful for our cancer patients whose diagnostic tissue results and staging information becomes available much faster now, which further streamlines the path to treatment.”

Members of both specialties work as a team and may see patients jointly to provide multimodality treatments from the most complex surgical procedures and video assisted interventions to the latest minimally invasive and endoscopic procedures that can mean less pain and quicker recovery time for patients.

“By merging the services, we expedite the workup and management of both cancerous and noncancerous lung disease that may require intervention either with surgery or a bronchoscopic procedure.”

Charles Mulligan Jr., M.D.

The combined service enables thoracic surgeons and interventional pulmonologists to work together to identify and characterize central lung nodules or masses, to accurately stage lung cancer and to obtain adequate tissue for molecular and genetic mutation studies. The team also routinely co-manages patients with advanced COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and other interstitial lung diseases that can cause scarring to the lungs.

As members of the Graham Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary patient care team, members of the combined Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology Service work closely with the Graham Cancer Center’s medical oncologists and radiation oncologists as well as other specialists to improve outcomes and optimize patient care.

Service members also participate as a group to provide input at the Graham Cancer Center Thoracic Tumor Board and the Lung Nodule Board, which offer the opportunity for a multidisciplinary review and discussion of recommended treatment plans.

For consultations with the Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology Service call the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute at 302-623-4530.

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