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Thoracic Oncology Program »  Patient Center

Patient Center

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Lung cancer, esophageal cancer and mesothelioma are complex and challenging diseases to treat. Obtaining a precise diagnosis and developing an individualized treatment plan are critical to success. At UCSF, patients are treated by an experienced  multidisciplinary team of specialists who have a broad menu of treatment options.

Multidisciplinary Team

  • Thoracic Surgeons who remove malignant tumors
  • Medical Oncologists who use drugs to destroy tumors
  • Radiation Oncologists who use radiation beams to target tumors
  • Pulmonologists who aid in the diagnosing of lung cancer and relief of symptoms
  • Radiologists who take detailed images of the body using CT and PET scans
  • Pathologists who classify tumors using sophisticated microscopes and stains
  • Nurse practitioners who consult with patients and help  to manage their symptoms
  • Nurses who administer chemotherapy and provide critical support for the medical team

Compassionate Care

Our team is also strongly committed to the emotional well being of patients. Treatment goals are clearly communicated. Patients and their families are encouraged to ask questions and to be proactive participants in their case.

Expertise in Complex Cases

The UCSF Thoracic Oncology Program is well-known for its willingness to treat high-risk patients including those routinely turned down for surgery at other institutions. Patients given only limited options by their treating physicians often seek second opinions from our specialists.

Willingness to be Aggressive

UCSF has been cited for its "willingness to be aggressive" in treating advanced lung cancer, in going the extra mile for patients, in viewing the glass as half full instead of half empty when it comes to treatment options.

Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board

Multidisciplinary care at UCSF is seamless, comprehensive and carefully tailored to each patient. Our team confers at all stages of the case, continually reassessing treatment options.  The UCSF  multidisciplinary Thoracic Tumor Board meets weekly to discuss cases which present treatment challenges. Any physician may present a case to the tumor board and receive expert  advice from this collaborative group. 

Clinical Trials

Targeted therapies selectively attack only cancer cells instead of all cells in the body like chemotherapy. Tarceva and Avastin, two such drugs, have already been approved for several types of lung cancer. Researchers are now using the molecular characteristics of  a patient's tumor to guide the decision of which agent or combination of agents to use.  Physicians in the Thoracic Oncology Program also wear the hats of scientists. Each is strongly committed to trying out new therapies in clinical trials. Because they are involved in clinical research,  our physician-scientists can offer patients a broad menu of clinical trials. Their goal is to have a trial for every type and stage of lung cancer as well as other thoracic cancers.

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