Section: Highlights

Introducing the St. Jude Center for Thoracic and Esophageal Diseases

Introducing the St. Jude Center for Thoracic and Esophageal Diseases

St. Jude Medical Center is bringing a remarkable new level of excellence to diagnosing and treating lung and esophageal conditions, including malignant and benign tumors.

Part of the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute, the Center for Thoracic and Esophageal Disease offers expertise and services available at only a handful of hospitals in the nation. This program includes a multidisciplinary evaluation by dedicated experts and state-of-the-art treatment for diseases of the lung, esophagus, stomach, chest wall, and mediastinum.

“By expanding our services and expertise, we have ensured the care close to home is the best care available,” explains David Park, MD, board-certified medical oncologist, co-medical director at the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute, and executive director of the newly established St. Jude Center for Thoracic and Esophageal Diseases. “This center brings important new elements to our care and allows us to offer something truly unique to patients, including the most successful, minimally invasive surgeries available for the treatment of lung cancers.”

Daniel Oh, MD, a Harvard-trained and nationally-renowned thoracic surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC, has joined a multidisciplinary team of St. Jude experts, which includes board-certified pulmonologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. Widely published, Dr. Oh is a national leader in advancing robotic and minimally invasive techniques designed to maximize outcomes while shortening recovery times. Robotic lobectomy is performed routinely in only a few centers across the country, and this will now be offered at St. Jude to establish it as a referral center of excellence in Orange County.

According to Fariba Gharai, MD, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Jude Medical Center,
the unusual combination of expertise and experience coming together in the multidisciplinary center is offering enormous benefits to patients. “This new center is giving patients access to highly personalized care, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic techniques available at only a handful of medical centers in the nation,” explains Gharai.

In addition to today’s most advanced treatment options, the St. Jude Center for Thoracic and Esophageal Diseases will also offer comprehensive diagnosis and screening, including an innovative Pulmonary Nodule and Lung Cancer Screening Program. Expert diagnosis and monitoring of lung nodules — and of those most at risk for developing them — is a critical, yet largely unmet need in Orange County.

This program allows patients with nodules, as well as heavy smokers and those considered high risk, to be screened, monitored and treated by a multidisciplinary team of experts following the newest evidence-based standards. While most nodules are not cancerous, careful monitoring and timely diagnostic evaluation when necessary is critical.

“Unfortunately, unnecessary biopsies and surgeries to remove nodules that are not cancerous are common, and can create as many complications as failing to provide effective monitoring,” says Dr. Oh. “By bringing together different disciplines to contribute their expertise in diagnosing, monitoring and developing a treatment plan for each patient, we can ensure exactly the right care at exactly the right time.”

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