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Lung cancers are one of the commonest cancers mostly attributable to tobacco use. They can be classified as adenocarcinomas, squamous carcinomas, small cell carcinomas and neuroendocrine tumours. The lung team also sees patients with thymic tumours and mesothelioma (a tumour of the lining of the lung due to asbestos inhalation).
The Lung cancer team is a specialist team formed from representatives of every part of the service a lung cancer patient might interact with during their diagnosis and treatment. This would include:
- The Doctors responsible for diagnosing the patient
- Specialist radiologists and histopathologists, responsible for analyzing any imagery and biological samples generated during the patients care
- Clinical Nurse Specialists and Macmillan Cancer Support Worker
- Specialist surgeons, medical oncologists and clinical oncologists, responsible for the delivery of treatment
- Clinic staff and multi-disciplinary team meeting co-ordinators, to track and follow patients through the system and cover their pathway end to end.
Do I need any tests to confirm diagnosis?
Lung cancers are assessed with biopsies to confirm type and scans to assess extent of disease known as staging – this determines prognosis and treatment.
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust offers a comprehensive diagnostic service including lung function testing, a dedicated unit to perform bronchoscopies, and specialist lung ultrasound or CT guided biopsy.
To further aid diagnosis, the Radiology Department at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides a comprehensive imaging service (including MRI, CT and ultrasound technologies) while the Pathology service provides expert analysis of blood, cells and tissues including in house rapid testing for tumour molecular mutations that guides treatment with novel therapies.
We are also able to offer PET scanning as part of our diagnostic suite through a mobile scanner that attends the Tooting site.
What treatment are available?
Lung cancers are usually treated with either surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy or radiotherapy (or a combination of treatments). The type of surgery needed and the particular combination of surgery and therapy will depend on the type and complexity of cancer.
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the sole provider of thoracic surgery for the hospitals in the southwest London cancer network, meaning we have excellent and well-staffed facilities to handle this. Due to our role as a surgery centre, patients diagnosed with lung cancer at sites such as Epsom & St Helier, Croydon or Kingston, who are eligible for surgery, will have it here.
We are also able to provide chemotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy onsite in both a day patient and inpatient setting.
Due to our close links with the Royal Marsden for patients requiring Radiotherapy we are able to offer the initial consultations here, followed by treatment at one of the Royal Marsden’s two sites, Sutton and Fulham. The Royal Marsden’s radiotherapists work closely with the St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust team, ensuring that patients receive the highest standard of care.