In the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Over the last decade, the introduction of new screening technologies and treatments has increased the survival rate. Lung cancer often does not present symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body. However, the most common type— non-small cell lung cancer—can sometimes be cured if found early.
Get to know Dr. Neil Galindez, MD, as he answers questions about the benefits of early intervention and less invasive treatment options available for patients requiring surgery.
Dr. Neil Galindez, MD, is fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeon who specializes in robotic thoracic and adult cardiac surgery. He works collaboratively with primary care physicians, pulmonologists, cardiologists, oncologists, and members of the care team at Northwest Medical Center and Westside Regional Medical Center to provide high-quality, patient-centered care.
Should I talk to my doctor about lung cancer?
If you are between 55 and 80 years old, quit smoking less than 15 years ago, have a smoking history of at least 30-pack years, you should discuss risks with your primary doctor at your annual physical. If you are currently smoking, it is best to make an appointment sooner to explore options to help you quit. Avoiding cigarettes is the most important thing you can do to lower your chance of dying from other diseases, such as heart disease and emphysema, not just lung cancer. If you experience any symptoms of lung cancer or learn through screening that you have cancer, you should consult with a cardiothoracic surgeon, such as myself, who can immediately provide you with a treatment plan.
Can you further explain “pack years?”
Typically, the more pack years you have smoked, the greater the chance of getting cancer. The number of pack-years says more about your risk than the length of time you smoked. Use this formula to help you calculate your risk.
Calculating Pack Years: Pack-years is calculated by multiplying the number of packs smoked per day by the number of years a person has smoked. 1 pack a day x 30 years = 30 pack-years or 2 packs a day x 15 years = 30 pack-years.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
You should contact your doctor right away if you notice: a new cough that does not go away, a change in a chronic cough, cough up blood (even a small amount), develop shortness of breath or chest pain, or lose weight without trying.
If I am diagnosed with lung cancer, what are some of my treatment options?
Depending on how much cancer has spread, treatment may vary. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy are other options your doctor might recommend.
Is minimally-invasive surgery available as an option for lung cancer patients?
Robotic thoracic surgery is a minimally invasive treatment option for patients diagnosed with a wide-variety of diseases, including lung tumors and lesions, mediastinal tumors and lesions, pericardial pathology, and chest wall and diaphragmatic pathology.
What are some of the benefits of robot-assisted surgery?
The robot-assisted technique allows surgeons to access the area requiring intervention with minimal disruption to surrounding tissue. Patients may experience less pain and scarring, reduced risk of blood loss, and a quicker return to daily activities.
How can we reach you to make an appointment and where is your office located?
Florida Heart and Vascular Care is located in Plantation and Margate, FL. We offer minimally invasive surgical solutions for patients requiring heart and lung surgery. Our offices believe in a collaborative approach to care. You can reach us by calling (954) 475-9535.