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About The Center

Stony Brook University Lung Cancer Evaluation Center
Lung Cancer Evaluation Center
Practice Location:
3 Edmund D. Pellegrino Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Mailing Address:
Health Sciences Center
T-19, Rm 071
Stony Brook University
Medical Center
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8191
Map & Directions
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Services & Procedures


Surgery as an option depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient. The surgeon will want to know how well a patient's lung is functioning. This information will tell the surgeon how much lung tissue can be removed and how well the patient can expect to function surgery.

Most often a lobectomy removal of a whole lobe of the lung is the operation performed with the goal to cure lung cancer. Sometimes an entire lung has to be removed in an operation called pneumonectomy. A wedge resection removal of a section of the lobe with the tumor can be performed if the surgeon doesn't feel a patient can tolerate a lobectomy.

Very often, if lung cancer is suspected but a biopsy (tissue sample taken for examination) could not be performed prior to surgery, a wedge resection can be performed and, while the patient is still in surgery, the tissue can be sent to the pathologist for examination. If the pathologist sees that it contains cancer, the surgeon will go on to perform a lobectomy. When the surgeon removes the tumor, he or she will remove lymph nodes in the chest to determine whether the cancer has spread. This information helps with staging the cancer. These operations are most often performed through an incision made at the side of the chest between the ribs, sometimes with a small portion of rib being removed. This incision of the chest wall is called a thoracotomy. Sometimes the lung surgery can be performed via a minimally invasive procedure called thoracoscopy. Three smaller incisions are used.

Complications during or after your surgery will be discussed with you by your surgeon. These can include infection, bleeding, and shortness of breath. You can expect to have a fair amount of pain, for which medications will be given to you to help control it. Very often, a catheter (thin tube) is inserted in your back just prior to the surgery, and is used as a way to give you medication to control the pain while you are in the hospital. This method of pain management is commonly called an epidural.

Our physicians that provide this service include: Thomas Bilfinger, MD and Allison McLarty, MD

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Chemotherapy consists of drugs that are given either by mouth, a shot, or an IV line (intra-venous; into a vein). These drugs are cytotoxic (cell-killing). There are different phases of the life cycle of a cell. All cells divide, but cancer cells divide abnormally or more quickly. The drugs used in chemotherapy aim to destroy dividing cells. The goal is that, since cancer cells are more actively dividing, these cells will be killed. At the same time, since some normal cells will also be in the dividing phase, they too will be destroyed. This is why patients can experience side effects. Some side effects can include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, mouth sores, loose stool, bruising or bleeding, infections, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, or numbness. Many of these go away after treatment is over. Your oncologist will help you manage these problems if they occur.

Chemotherapy is given at regular intervals called cycles. This approach allows normal cells time to recover from the side effects. The schedule and numbers of cycles are determined by the type and stage of the cancer, and how the particular drug that is used works best.

In recent years, chemotherapy regimens have been developed that are better tolerated by patients, and most patients no longer experience horrible side effects and a miserable life style as a result of their treatment. A bad experience with "chemo" is considered a thing of the past.

Our physicians that provide this service include: Theodore Gabig, MD and Roger Keresztes, MD

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill or shrink cancer cells. This radiation can come from the outside of the body (external radiation), or from radioactive material placed inside the body (brachytherapy). Radiation can sometimes be the main treatment for lung cancer. More often, it is used as simultaneous treatment with chemotherapy and also after surgery, to help maximize their effectiveness. Radiation is not only used in the lung for treatment of lung cancer, but is also used in the brain either "prophylactically" to help prevent the spread (metastasis) of the cancer to the brain, or for treatment of cancer that has already spread to the brain. Radiation can also cause some side effects, such as skin problems, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue. Radiation is given by a doctor called a radiation oncologist who is specially trained in treating cancer with it.

Our physicians that provide this service include: Kim Bong Soon, MD and Allen Meek, MD

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Brachytherapy (pronounced brak-e-THER-uh-pee) is a type of radiation therapy used to treat lung cancer that involves the placement of a radioactive material, either temporarily or permanently, directly inside the body. This treatment also called internal radiation therapy may help to relieve severe symptoms but does not cure the cancer.

Our physicians that provide this service include: Kim Bong Soon, MD and Allen Meek, MD

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Stereotactic Radiation

Stereotactic radiation therapy is a technique that combines computerized imaging with radiation therapy to precisely target a tumor. This method helps to reduce damage to healthy tissue around the tumor. This treatment is reserved for patients who are deemed medically inoperable early stage non small cell lung cancer (tumor size less than 6cm and no lymph node involvement). Patients with a metastasis to the lung are potential candidates, if there are less then 3 metastases.

Our physicians that provide this service include: Kim Bong Soon, MD and Allen Meek, MD

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Radiofrequency Ablation & Cryoablation

Some patients who are not candidates for surgery because of their lung condition or because of other medical conditions may be able to have their lung cancer treated with newly developed minimally-invasive treatments called radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. These treatments are performed by a surgeon and an interventional radiologist who work together. Both treatments involve use of a catheter (thin tube), guided by a CT scan, that is inserted into the lung and then into the tumor. Once there, thermal energy (heat) or cryoenergy (freeze) is delivered through the catheter to kill the cancer.

Radiofrequency ablation is the treatment that heats the tumor, and cryoablation is the treatment that freezes it. In general, these treatments are used to treat small, early-stage lung cancer. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia, and require an overnight stay in the hospital.Sometimes during the procedure the lung can collapse. This condition may require that you have a drain placed in your chest. Radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation require that you have pre-operative testing. After the procedures, you will be followed closely, with scheduled CT (computed tomography) scans and PET (positron emission tomography) scans. These procedures can be repeated if the cancer comes back (recurs), or if the tumor has an incomplete response to them.

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Important Note:

The Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians website is primarily an informational and educational resource. It should not be used in place of medical advice and recommendations you receive from your health care provider. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please seek the advice of your health care provider.

Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians provides marketing advice and consultation to the clinical Faculty associated with the University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs). It does not provide medical care directly or indirectly nor does it oversee, direct, manage or supervise the medical care provided by any of the individual Practices. The individual Practices are responsible for the medical care each Practice provides to its patients. Please note that the Practices listed below are separate University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs).