Our lung cancer experts work as a team to support your physical
and emotional needs. As a lung cancer patient, your care team may
include doctors and other health care professionals.
Your primary care provider guides
your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional
you should go to about any health concern.
Medical oncologists coordinate cancer care
through the course of the disease. They also prescribe chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs, as
well as pain medicine.
Radiologists use CT
scans, chest MRIs, chest
x-rays and PET scans to find lung cancer.
Pathologists work in the medical laboratory,
where they examine cells, body fluids and tissue samples for traces
Pulmonologists diagnose and treat lung and
breathing problems. They use bronchoscopy to help
determine if a lung tumor has cancer.
Radiation oncologists stop the growth of cancer
cells with radiation therapy.
Thoracic surgeons have special training to
operate within the chest cavity. This includes the lungs, ribs,
sternum, diaphragm and associated muscles. During lung
surgery, thoracic surgeons can remove tumors and tissue from
Palliative care doctors focus on ways to
increase comfort and improve quality of life during lung cancer
coordinators meet with patients and their families to
provide support and help them navigate the medical system. The same
cancer care coordinator can support a patient from diagnosis
through treatment and follow-up.
address concerns about inheriting cancer.
Healing coaches offer information about and
referrals for complementary therapies. While bridging the worlds of
mainstream and alternative medicine, they can help address concerns
and feelings raised by cancer and assist in developing a healing
This video covers care coordination, one of the essential components of cancer care at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.
Connie Fiebiger, RN, director of clinical programs, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute: The cancer care coordinator is a registered nurse who is experienced in cancer and understands the impact that that has on patients and their loved ones.
As you can imagine, a diagnosis of cancer is very overwhelming and anxiety provoking. And our health care system is very difficult to navigate at times. Cancer patients have a lot of questions that they are looking for answers to and just kind of wondering what do I do next. And so the cancer care coordinator can help them through that process.
Cancer care coordinators can assist the patient in making informed decisions about their treatment options.
The cancer care coordinator can help make connections to the different healthcare team members. So a patient may need to go to several different types of specialty physicians, it might be the medical oncologist, the surgeon, the radiation oncologist. And the care coordinator makes sure that the patient is getting to the right specialty physician in a timely manner.
Part of that process is to make sure that the patient is also getting tests and procedures done prior to those appointments so that they're not wasting the patient's time
The cancer care coordinator can help the patient get connected to cancer rehabilitation services through
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, as well as more integrative therapies through the
Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.
We know that survivorship begins at diagnosis and we want to make sure that the patient is accessing those types of services and programs in a timely manner.
When we're caring for a cancer patient, were really caring for the whole family. So we like to include the patients loved one to make sure that the loved one also understands what's going on and can help to support them so that they can support the patient.
The patient may be having concerns around their financial situation. They may have questions around their sexuality. They may be dealing with some concerns about their own mortality. They may be losing their hair and the impact that that has on their body image as well as self-esteem. So the cancer care coordinator can assist the patient in helping them to get connected to the right individuals or services, not only within Allina Health but also within the community.
Our goal is that every cancer patient will have access to a cancer care coordinator. We are looking at having that cancer patient get connected at diagnosis. The most benefit that the care coordinator can add to that relationship with the patient is at the very beginning.
Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
Paula Colwell, RN, manager, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Program