This article originally appeared in Connections, a magazine
published for physicians and the community by UMass Memorial Medical
|Geoffrey Graeber, MD, speaks with a
When a patient is facing a
lung cancer diagnosis, it is important to know that there is close-to-home
access to outstanding thoracic surgery expertise, and compassionate, coordinated
care at the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence.
In fact, the UMass Memorial thoracic surgery team has performed thousands of
procedures to treat all types and stages of this disease, and the Medical Center
is among the top 10 percent in the nation in terms of annual volume. Yet, this
depth of thoracic surgical experience and expertise is only part of the reason
to refer a patient here for treatment.
"We individualize care for patients extensively," said Chief of Thoracic
Surgery Geoffrey Graeber, MD, noting that the comprehensive array of today's
most advanced diagnostic and treatment resources at the Center of Excellence
makes this possible.
Accurate staging of lung cancer is a critical factor
in selecting treatment options, determining a prognosis and ensuring the best
possible outcome for each patient. UMass Memorial conforms to national staging
criteria established by the American Joint Committee on Cancer and consistently
achieves a staging accuracy rate of 98 percent (the majority of cancer centers
in the country reach only 90 percent or less).
A team approach brings together all the appropriate specialists to
collaborate on the optimal plan of care for each patient. The Medical Center's
Lung Cancer Clinic has a dedicated patient navigator who carefully guides
patients through the diagnosis and treatment process, expediting timely care.
For patients who qualify, UMass Memorial offers access to numerous, ongoing
clinical trials in conjunction with its academic partner, UMass Medical School.
And extensive support and education resources are available to address the
emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
In addition to the program at UMass Memorial Medical Center, UMass Memorial
has introduced thoracic surgery programs at two of its community hospitals,
HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster and Fitchburg, and Marlborough Hospital.
Dr. Graeber and his team perform diagnostic tests as well as certain lung cancer
surgical procedures at these facilities, making their expertise even more
The attentive approach extends to referring physicians as well. "We treat
referring physicians the way we would want to be treated if we were sending a
patient to a major medical center," Dr. Graeber added. "We keep them well
informed of what is going on until it's time for the patient to return to their
To expedite scheduling a patient consultation at the Cancer Center of
Excellence, call our HOPE Line: 866-597-HOPE (4673). The HOPE Line is staffed
weekdays 8 am to 4:30 pm, (excluding holidays).