Nationally, lung cancer represents the most common cause of cancer mortality in both men and women. It ranks as second in cancer incidence in men after prostate cancer and second in women after breast cancer. In 2005, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of death from cancer in women due partly to the increasing incidence of smoking in women.
In our analysis (2012-2013), we had a total of 125 evaluable cases of lung cancer cases reported to our tumor registry. This included 72% non-small cell lung cancer and 28% small cell lung cancer. This incidence of small cell lung cancer is somewhat higher than national norms and may reflect the high incidence of smoking in our catchment area, which is estimated to be 30% or higher.
The Cancer Center at Harrington works frequently with University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and we had a thoracic surgery clinic on site for a year. The thoracic surgeons still regularly attend our multi-disciplinary tumor boards. Our treatment team consists of radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, radiology, thoracic surgery, nursing, social work, and nutrition.
Second-opinion consultations are available at University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Thoracic surgery is performed off-site generally at University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Saint Vincent Hospital. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy is performed on site at the Cancer Center at Harrington.
Our outcomes, stage for stage, in both non-small cell and small-cell lung cancer, are comparable to national norms.
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These numbers are small but are clearly at national norms and in some cases exceed national figures. Our catchment area is estimated to be potentially 150,000 – 200,000 people.
Looking ahead, we will continue to participate in the annual American Cancer Society Great American Smoke Out, and smoking cessation is routinely carried out at our primary care sites. This year, we have started a lung cancer screening program according to CMS guidelines in conjunction with radiology (30 pack years and greater than 55 years old). The initial rollout has been successful, with several actionable early-stage cases identified and referred for biopsy and surgery.
Christopher Seidler, M.D., is a board certified medical oncologist and hematologist, and Medical Director of The Cancer Center at Harrington. He received his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. Dr. Seidler can be reached at 508-764-2400 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.