Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic Surgeons on the Front Line with Cancer Care

Cancer Care - Team Approach

St.Vincent Cancer Care is a team approach

St.Vincent Heart Center's surgery center treats more than just heart cases. Our Thoracic surgeons are also oncology surgeons treating lung and esophageal cancers. That makes St.Vincent Heart Center the busiest non-cardiac thoracic surgery facility in Indiana.

Here's How Surgical Innovations at St.Vincent can Make a Difference:

Case in point as presented by Richard Freeman, MD, St.Vincent Cancer Care Medical Director and board-certified Thoracic Surgeon at St.Vincent Heart Center

A 60-year-old woman and 35-year smoker gets a St.Vincent Health flyer in the mail about low-dose CT scans as a lung cancer screening. She calls and makes an appointment. The CT scan shows a lung nodule. She is referred to a St.Vincent thoracic surgeon and at the bedside a navigational bronchoscopy procedure is done to get within proximity of the lung by navigating through the esophagus. A nodule is positively identified. Next an endobroncho -ultrasound probe takes the same path and extracts a biopsy. All of this has been done without making an incision. She is scheduled for surgery, having a VATS minimally invasive procedure using robotic-assisted technology to make 3-4 small incisions to remove the cancerous mass. In this case, the recovery is quicker and this woman needs a much shorter interval of cancer therapy. Early detection of lung cancer matters, so does the experience of the surgeons and the innovative tools they use.

Did you know?

Low-dose CT scans are detecting lung cancer earlier, when it's most treatable.

Lung cancer is still the most common cancer death in men and women. At St.Vincent we are making progress and lung cancer screening is an important first step.

Thoracic Surgeons are trained to treat benign and cancerous diseases of the lung and chest, not necessarily the heart, but at St.Vincent Heart Center the versatility of these surgeons is a value-added benefit for heart patients being treated for an aortic aneurysm. Surgeons are able to rebuild the aortic artery with a prosthetic graft. In other cases, they can use minimally invasive endovascular stent grafts to repair thoracic aortic aneurysms.

The St.Vincent Thoracic Surgery Program performs more thoracic surgeries than any other group in Indiana and in most cases these surgeons are using catheters, robotic-assisted surgery and advanced imaging techniques. They are also one of four groups in the nation performing thymus gland removal with this technology. For adults who experience persistent, excessive sweating (sometimes due to medication) these surgeons provide the only definitive treatment for hyperhidrosis using video-assisted surgical technology. To learn more about hyperhidrosis click here.

Coordinating your Cancer Care

The St.Vincent thoracic surgeons lead a multidisciplinary thoracic malignancy clinic working in cooperation with cardiologists, pulmonologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists and your primary care physician to coordinate the highest standards of care. This group is actively involved in local and national clinical research efforts to ensure that our patients receive innovative yet proven therapies.

Resources and Links:

The St.Vincent Health Library is a great resource to better understand medical terms. See more in-depth information about thoracic surgery related conditions:

Next Steps

  • Are you a long time smoker? Have a persistent unproductive cough?
  • The low-dose CT lung scan is a painless lung cancer screening test that takes just a few minutes.