Lung Cancer Survivorship Program Ensures Comprehensive Follow-up at Hackensack University Medical Center
Nurse practitioners join thoracic surgeons in long-range patient follow-up for growing lung cancer surgery program
Every patient treated for lung cancer at Hackensack University Medical Center requires an aggressive, often lifelong, follow-up regimen.
In the first five years following lung cancer treatment, physicians are especially concerned about recurrence. CT scans, initially every six months, during that time frame provide early detection of any recurrence or of a new cancer. After five years without recurrence, they are considered cured of the initial cancer and graduate to Hackensack University Medical Center’s Lung Cancer Survivorship Program.
While recurrence risk goes down over time, the risk of a new cancer forming rises each year following a lung cancer so annual screening remains important, often for the rest of a patient’s life. Through the Lung Cancer Survivorship Program, these patients receive a CT scan and comprehensive evaluation.
For a busy thoracic surgery team, a growing population of patients treated successfully means an ever expanding population of individuals who require extended follow-up care. To provide comprehensive assessment and care, after their initial five-year, semiannual follow-up period, annual patient visits are often led by one of the Lung Cancer Survivorship Program’s three dedicated nurse practitioners.
Patients are already familiar with the nurse practitioner team, as they are involved in initial treatment as well as survivorship care. If any abnormalities are spotted during a follow-up, a thoracic surgeon can join the consultation. Nurse practitioners provide another set of eyes in addition to surgeons and radiologists and check that overall health screenings, such as mammograms, are also up to date.
Learn more about innovative pulmonology and thoracic surgery care at Hackensack University Medical Center.