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Thoracic & Lung Cancer Program

The Thoracic Cancer Program at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital offers the most comprehensive care to patients suffering from early advance stages of thoracic cancer.

Our multidisciplinary team of oncologists, thoracic cancer specialists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologist, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, and pathologists use latest advanced technologies and state-of-the-art facilities, to provide holistic care to rapidly diagnose and treat cancer. We offer a comprehensive patient-centric treatment plan that is designed to meet the unmet medical needs of the patient. It comprises of radical surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and complex reconstructive approaches that offer the lowest risk and greatest chance of cure.

Our vision is to create a world where no one fears cancer. We are home to internationally recognised surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and pathologists who offer comprehensive patient-centric care to patients with both early-stage and complex cases of lung cancer.

What Is Thoracic Cancer?

Thoracic cancer is cancer that represents the uncontrollable abnormal growth of cells that develops in oesophagus, windpipe, lungs, lung airways (bronchi), chest walls, mediastinum, mesothelium, thymus glands, or other pulmonary diseases that affects the large portions of the lung or inner chest cavity.

The various types of thoracic cancer include:

  • Lung Cancer: It involves unaccountable growth of cancer cells that begins in or spreads in one or both lungs of the human body. The abnormal growth of cell can form cancerous tumours and interfere with the functioning of the lungs. Some of the different types of lung cancers are:
    • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): Also known as adenocarcinoma start in flat, thin cells called squamous cells and is one of the most common lung cancers with up to 80% of cases.
    • Small Cell Lung Cancer: Also call as oat cell cancer starts in cells the line of the bronchi, right in the centre of the lungs and makes up to 10-15% of all lung cancer cases.
    • Pulmonary Lung Carcinoid Tumour: It is a most uncommon type of lung tumour that develops due to uncommon group of neuroendocrine cells (pulmonary neoplasms).
  • Mediastinal Cancer: It represents the growth of cancer cells in the mediastinum (area of the chest that separates the lungs). The area is surrounded by breast bone in the front and spine at the back and contains the oesophagus, heart, aorta, trachea, thymus, lymph nodes and nerves.
  • Mesothelioma: It is a type of cancer that develops from the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs in body. It most commonly affects the lining of the chest wall and the lungs.
  • Metastatic Tumours to the Lungs: These are the types of tumors that develop in different parts of the body and spread to the lungs through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream. Nearly any cancer in the body can reach/spread to the lungs. These cancers differ from lung cancer that originates from the lungs.
  • Myasthenia Gravis Tumours: Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that can affect people of all age. Studies have shown that 15-20% of patients with myasthenia gravis have thymomas that is derived from the epithelial cells of the thymus gland and may be malignant.
  • Oesophageal Cancer: It is a type of a cancer that occurs when the abnormal cells in the oesophagus (food pipe- a tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach) starts to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. The cancer usually starts in lining of the oesophagus and starts spreading outwards through the oesophagus.
  • Pleural Cancer: It is the cancer that occurs in the pleural cavity available outside the lungs in the chest and in pleural lining that surrounds the lungs and covers the inside of the chest cavity. It is usually a metastatic cancer that spreads into the pleura from some other parts in the body.
  • Laryngeal Cancer: It is the type of the cancer found in the larynx (a part of the throat, between the trachea and the base of the tongue) that contains the vocal cords. The most common risk factors associate with this type of cancer is smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol.
  • Bronchial Adenoma: Cancer that starts in the mucous glands, salivary glands or ducts of the lung airways (bronchi) is termed as bronchial adenoma.
  • Thymoma and Thymic Malignancies: In these types of malignancies cancer cells form on the outside surfaces of the thymus glands. Thymoma is usually linked with various autoimmune diseases like Myasthenia Gravis, while thymic carcinoma looks a bit different from thymoma and is harder to treat. These cancers if not diagnosed on time, rapidly spread to other parts of the body.
  • Tracheal Cancer: Commonly known as cancer of the windpipe (trachea) usually develops in the tube that connects the mouth and nose to the lungs. It is a very rare cancer that develops because of smoking. In general there are two major types of tracheal cancers squamous cell and adenoid cystic carcinoma.
  • Chest Wall Tumours: Any type of abnormal growth of cells that develops in chest cavity whether malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) can interfere with pulmonary functioning of the respiratory system. These tumours are metastatic that originates from the bone or muscle of the chest wall and can spread to other parts of the body.

The most common chest wall tumours are

    • Begin Tumours: Osteochondroma, Chondroma and Fibrous dysplasia
    • Malignant Tumours: Sarcomas, Chondrosarcomas, fibrosarcomas (desmoids, neurofibrosarcomas) and malignant fibrous histiocytomas, etc.

What Are The Indicators of Lung Cancer?

Different people have different signs and symptoms of thoracic cancer. Some of the very common ones include:

  • Lingering or worsening cough
  • Coughing up phlegm or blood
  • Bad chest pain that develops when you breathe deeply, laugh, or cough
  • A lump or bump protruding from the chest
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Impaired movement

A patient might also experience these symptoms along with the above symptoms:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea&Vomiting
  • Fluid retention

These are the very common symptoms that indicate thoracic cancer. Symptoms of cancer may vary according to the type of its origin.

How is Thoracic Cancer Diagnosed?

Our team of highly experienced oncologists performs a wide spectrum of tests to diagnose the cancer. These tests include:

  • Sputum Cytology
  • Bronchoscopy& Guided biopsies (EBUS)
  • CT (Computed Tomography) scan & guided core biopsy.
  • PET CT Scan
  • Tumour markers
  • Pulmonary Function Tests 
  • Molecular testing

What Are Possible Treatments For Thoracic Cancer?

Getting the right treatment for your cancer condition is one of the most important steps that our experienced oncologists consider in ensuring that you receive the most appropriate care. We prove personalised medical and surgical treatment to our patients according to their diagnosis results.
•    Surgical Process: To remove cancerous lung/chest/oesophageal tissues and tissues in the surrounding areas where cancer may have spread. 
o    Wedge resection: It helps in removing a small section of the lung/chest/oesophagus that contains the tumour.
o    Segmental resection: To remove the large infected part in the lung/chest/oesophagus, but not the entire lobe.
o    Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS):It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a thoracoscope (with a camera on its tip) that is inserted through a small incision to provide the view of am affected area. Doctor the uses small instruments to perform the surgery for the removal of  fluid and examine it for potential malignancies and other conditions
o    Lobectomy: Helps in removing the entire lobe of one lung
o    Pneumonectomy: Surgery performed to remove the entire lung.
•    Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is a very important tool used in the fight against cancer and the treatment of as many as 50% of all cancer patients. Radiation can be given post-operatively and post-chemotherapy for local control and palliation of distant metastases. Radiation therapy is often given in locally advanced cancers where surgical intervention or chemotherapy is not possible. Radiation therapy is a safe & effective procedure where radioactive isotopes or high-energy photons, electrons or other particles are used to destroy the cancer cells. There are two types of radiation
o    External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT)
o    Brachytherapy or interstitial (HDR)
Radiation Oncologist is the specialised doctor for this treatment. Radiotherapy regimens or schedules and protocols are specific for different tumours and hence the time for treatment differs from case to case.
•    Chemotherapy: Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy is usually given to a patient either by mouth, through injection, or infusion, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It is used to downsize the tumour to enable surgery and can also be used post-surgery in certain cases. Chemotherapy forms a major modality for inoperable, advanced, and widespread cancers for effective-control of the disease.
•    Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy works by targeting cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. These proteins and genes are found in cancer cells or other types of cells that are related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells. Targeted therapy is used by itself or along with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
•    Immunotherapy: Cancer immunotherapy is the artificial stimulation of the immune system to treat cancer, improving the immune system's natural ability to fight cancer. It is considered as a fundamental application of the research of cancer immunology and is a growing subspeciality of oncology

What Are The Precautions One Must Take To Avoid Thoracic Cancer?

  • Stop Smoking: Quit smoking as smoking is the major cause of lung cancer
  • Avoid Passive Smoking: If you live with a smoker, ask them to smoke outside the house and seek a smoke-free living.
  • Maintain a balanced weight: Keep a healthy weight.
  • Exercise most days of the week: Be physically more active, exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
  • Healthy food habits: includes fruits and vegetables in the diet
  • Avoid too much alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid the use of tobacco:  Tobacco in any form is very dangerous to health.

Are There Any Risk Factors Involved?

Some of the major factors that lead to thoracic cancer include:

  • Passive Smoking: 90 per cent of lung cancers cases are the result of continuous exposure to smoking.
  • Exposure to radon: Exposure to a naturally existing radioactive gas.
  • Occupational exposure and pollution: Breathing in hazardous substances such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, some petroleum products, uranium, etc
  • Inherited genetic mutations: People who have family history of lung cancer are at high risk of developing thoracic cancer.
  • Avoid exposure to air pollution
  • Radiation therapy treatment: History of radiation therapy to the breast or chest.

Find Complete Relief from Nanavati Experts

If you think you are facing similar conditions, or have suffered from them in the past, please contact the Nanavati team to schedule an appointment at : +91 22 2626 7500

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