Thoracic and Esophageal Oncology
Committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for each of our patients
Hackensack Meridian Health provides treatment for a wide range of malignant and non-malignant conditions affecting the lung, esophagus, thymus, mediastinum, chest wall, and diaphragm. The division is a leader in complex surgeries as well as robotic video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) – resulting in less invasive procedures and easier recovery.
Best possible outcomes for each patient
We are dedicated to achieving the best case scenario for each of our patient’s every time, which is why our specialists offer many advanced tests and treatments for a wide range of thoracic and esophageal cancers.
The most common conditions treated by our lung and esophageal specialists include:
Most lung cancer begins in the cells that line the bronchial tubes that carry air from the trachea down into the lungs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The esophagus is lined with squamous cells. Cancer starting in these cells is called squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer can occur anywhere along the esophagus, but is most common in the mid esophagus.
This type of cell is not normally part of the inner lining of the esophagus. Before adenocarcinoma can develop, gland cells must replace an area of squamous cells. This occurs mainly in the lower esophagus, which is where most adenocarcinomas start and this is the most common type of esophageal cancer in the United States.
Mesothelioma is a tumor of the tissue that lines your lungs, stomach, heart or other organs. These tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous).
Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcomas are cancerous tumors that begin in the muscle, fat, nerves, tendons, blood vessels or connective tissues.
Myasthenia gravis is characterized by weakness and fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. It is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. Emergency treatment is needed to provide assistance with breathing. Medications and blood-filtering therapies help people to again breathe on their own.
Other Chest Tumors
Thyoma and Thymic Carcinoma
Thymoma and thymic carcinoma are diseases in which malignant cells form on the outside surface of the thymus. The thymus, a small organ that lies in the upper chest under the breastbone, is part of the lymph system. It makes white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that protect the body against infections.
A schwannoma is a tumor of the tissue that covers nerves, called the nerve sheath. These tumors develop from a type of cell called a Schwann cell, which gives them their name. Schwannomas are often benign.
These tumors are rare growths of soft tissue cells that can form nearly anywhere in the body, but most often occur in the lining around the outside of the lungs (pleural solitary fibrous tumors).
Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly.
Depending on your type of cancer and how advanced it is, chemotherapy can:
- Cure cancer – when chemotherapy destroys cancer cells and they will not grow back.
- Control cancer – when chemotherapy keeps cancer from spreading, slows its growth, or destroys cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body.
- Ease symptoms – when chemotherapy shrinks tumors that are causing pain or discomfort.
Sometimes, chemotherapy is used as the only cancer treatment. But more often, chemotherapy is combined with surgery or radiation therapy.
When used alongside surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy can:
- Make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy
- Destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy
- Improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy and biological therapy
- Destroy cancer cells that reoccur or spread to other parts of your body (metastatic cancer)
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Your surgeon will make the smallest incisions possible to access the area. This type of surgery can make your recovery easier after surgery.
Laparoscopic Thorascopic Surgery (VATS)
Several small incisions are made to insert a camera and surgical tools into the abdomen and chest.
A type of scopic surgery where the surgeon controls a robot to maneuver the surgical tools inside the body. Robotic surgery helps surgeons access hard-to-reach areas.
A painless, noninvasive robotic radiosurgery system used for treating benign and malignant tumors. CyberKnife is able to target difficult to reach or inoperable tumors, without an incision or use of a scalpel. The precision of the treatment can reduce patients’ radiation therapy sessions.
Energy or temperature extremes are used to destroy cancer or precancerous cells.
A larger incision to perform the operation. For some tumors, this is the best treatment for the cancer.