Awards and Accolades

The Sentara Cancer Network approaches thoracic (lung) cancer with a multidisciplinary team of: pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, subspecialized pathologists and radiologists, radiation oncologists and rehabilitation experts.

These physicians collaborate and share cases via a multidisciplinary cancer conference (tumor board) to develop the best selection of care and treatment for individual patient needs.

The Sentara Cancer Network is the only network program in Virginia to earn accreditation from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer.

Sentara is a leader in advanced thoracic care. For instance, Sentara was the first in the region to perform induction chemotherapy followed by resection for advanced lung care.

Sentara introduced CyberKnife radiosurgery services to the region, for less invasive surgery of tumors of the lung.

Quality Data

The collaborative, multidisciplinary approach of the Sentara Cancer Network is showing promising results in the thoracic cancer program. Thanks to a system-wide initiative to track quality thoracic outcomes against a national database published by the Society of Thoracic Surgery, our survival rates have improved and complication rates have decreased.

What began as a handful of surgeons working together to enhance quality at a single facility has now grown to a multidisciplinary system-wide team including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, pulmonologists, critical care specialists, pathologists, anesthesiologists and other clinicians forming the Sentara System Thoracic Leadership Committee. Together they form a dedicated and subspecialized team caring for patients with thoracic disease. Through the use of today’s technology, the collaboration among team members is streamlined and effective. It’s not uncommon for physicians to pick up their cell phone and dial a colleague for an instant consult, with the patient right there in the room.

A pioneer in the field, the Sentara Thoracic Surgery Center at Sentara Heart Hospital was one of only 14 programs in the country participating in the collection and reporting of quality outcomes data through the Society of Thoracic Surgery (STS) in 2003. With a clear understanding of the value of this quality tracking, the visionary team made it a goal to expand the STS tracking throughout the five hospitals in the Sentara system that provide thoracic surgery services. That goal became a reality in 2011.

Because of our ongoing efforts to track and improve outcomes, the Sentara Thoracic Surgery Center at Sentara Heart Hospital is able to demonstrate that since 2002 the inpatient mortality rate has averaged 0.80 percent, which is below the STS national average. Now that we are tracking these outcomes across our network we hope to be able to report similar outcomes as data is collected at each of our five hospitals providing thoracic services.

The improvement efforts are becoming evident. The team has seen a decrease in mortality and complication rates and an improvement in quality of life, plus reducing delays in patient evaluation and presenting more options for patients.

You can read more about these topics, as well as the accompanying clinical data, in the latest Sentara Cancer Network Annual Report.