Education

Improving Your Odds Against Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women, and for patients who receive the diagnosis, the disease can be frightening.  More than half of those with lung cancer die within a year of diagnosis. But the odds are changing. Advances in early diagnosis and treatments offer hope to patients fighting the disease.

“We realize now that we can have an impact and save lives,” said Baptist Health Medical Group surgeon Mark Dylewski, M.D., chief of general thoracic surgery and medical director of robotic thoracic surgery for Baptist Health.

With low-dose spiral computerized tomography (CT) scans, doctors can detect cancer at its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of national experts, recommends annual lung cancer screening for adults ages 55 to 80, who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

“We know that 80 percent of lung cancer diagnoses are related to cigarette smoking,” said Paul Kaywin, M.D., assistant chairman of Miami Cancer Institute thoracic tumor site team. “There is now evidence-based scientific data that has shown that screening with low-dose CT scans in those at high risk can detect more early operable cancers and reduce deaths by 20 percent.”

For those facing surgery, robotic technology gives surgeons the ability to offer minimally invasive surgery to a wider population of lung cancer patients. With a newly designed DaVinci XI robotic system, Baptist Health surgeons can now perform lung surgeries with greater precision on patients with early-stage and more advanced-stage lung cancer. And patients experience the benefits of robotic surgery, which include faster healing time, reduced complications and improved outcomes, according to medical specialists.

“By diagnosing patients earlier, using different therapies to treat the disease and offering the most advanced surgical techniques, we are giving our patients a better opportunity for cure and recovery,” Dr. Dylewski said.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.