Minimally Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery Shown Live Over the Internet from Sentara Heart Hospital
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Minimally Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery Shown Live Over the Internet from Sentara Heart Hospital 

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NORFOLK, Va.,  - November 12, 2007 - The fourth of Sentara’s 2007 series of live surgery webcasts is scheduled for November 29th at 2:00 p.m.

Cardiothoracic surgeons Joseph Newton and Kirk Fleischer will perform a minimally invasive Lobectomy on a lung cancer patient, accessing the lung through a smaller incision under the patient's arm.

The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. A lobectomy removes the entire lobe of the lung that contains cancer. Your lungs can function with the lobes that remain. In addition, surrounding lymph nodes may be removed at the same time. During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgical team will insert scopes and use a smaller incision under the patient’s arm to access the lung. The thoroscopic instruments help surgeons examine the primary tumor and lymph nodes during surgery.

“By removing the lobe and lymph nodes, we can accurately stage the cancer and determine the best course of treatment,” says Dr. Newton. “For some patients, the surgery is the only necessary treatment. In other cases, we may need to pursue chemotherapy or radiation in addition to removal of the lobe.”

Using a minimally invasive technique means that patients have a shorter recovery time. Surgery typically lasts for 2-3 hours and patients require a 3-5 day hospital stay following surgery. After a few weeks of recovery, most patients are as active as they were before the surgery.

The Sentara Thoracic Surgery Center at Sentara Heart Hospital offers quality care for patients with a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in heart and lung treatments. The Center is one of the first 16 facilities in the country – and the only in this region - to participate in a database that measures thoracic surgery quality against national benchmarks.

“Our surgeons perform about 20 thoracic cases a week at the Center, which helps improve the quality as well as the cohesive nature of the multidisciplinary team,” adds Newton.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
It is no coincidence that Sentara decided to feature the minimally invasive Lobectomy procedure during this final web cast of the year. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Sentara is hoping to shed some light on the importance of knowing and minimizing the risk factors for developing lung cancer.

Marie Hadley is a former marathon runner who has been battling lung cancer since her diagnosis in October of 2001. In 2005, Hadley underwent a minimally invasive Lobectomy as part of a lung cancer recurrence. Her surgery was followed by four months of chemotherapy.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly I recovered from surgery,” says Hadley. “Once I was home from the hospital, I was walking one to two miles within a few weeks.”

Hadley’s personal experience with lung cancer has made her an advocate for cancer patients everywhere. A small lump on her neck was the only symptom Hadley experienced before discovering her cancer.

Much like Hadley’s experience, Newton says that in many cases there are no symptoms of lung cancer until the disease has progressed.
Persistent coughing, shortness of breath and lung pain can be symptoms and should be evaluated. Newton also adds that coughing up blood is cause for immediate evaluation by a physician.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 213,300 new cases of lung cancer are expected to occur in 2007.

Sentara offers two Lung Cancer Support Groups – one on the southside and one on the peninsula - for patients dealing with lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Visit our Thoracic Care at Sentara Web site at under the patient resource link for more information.

Minimize Your Risk
Lung cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Smoking is responsible for 87% of all lung cancer cases in the United States. Eliminating tobacco use is the key to reducing the impact of this disease.

The five-year survival rate for localized lung cancer is 49%, while the five-year survival rate for lung cancer for all stages combined is 16%. Even though breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, since 1987, more women have died each year of lung cancer than from breast cancer.

Great American Smokeout Observed This Month – The 30th annual American Cancer Society event, to be observed Thursday, November 15, is aimed at encouraging people to try to quit tobacco.


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