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The UCSF Advantage

Lung cancer, esophageal cancer and mesothelioma are complex and challenging diseases to treat. A precise diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan are critical to success as are having experienced, highly-trained thoracic surgeons performing the procedures.

Expertise in Complex Cases

Thoracic surgeons at UCSF are well-known for their willingness to treat high-risk patients including those routinely turned down for surgery at other institutions. Patients given only limited options by their treating physicians often seek second opinions from our specialists.

The Thoracic Surgery Program is known for its treatment of high-risk patients including those patients routinely turned down for surgery at other institutions. Patients who have exhausted standard treatments at other hospitals often seek second opinions at UCSF because of its expertise.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Our surgeons work closely with other specialists including medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, radiologists and pathologists. Multidisciplinary care is seamless and comprehensive. Treatment is tailored to each patient who each are regularly reassessed. Collaboration is present from the beginning and the a Thoracic Tumor Board meets weekly to assess the most challenging cases.

Willingness to be Aggressive

The Wall Street Journal cited UCSF for its "willingness to be aggressive" in treating advanced lung cancer in appropriately selected patients (see sidebar at left).

Clinical Trials 

Physicians in the Thoracic Oncology Program are also scientific investigators. Each is strongly committed to giving patients access to the latest therapies via a broad menu of clinical trials.

Researchers are now using the molecular characteristics of  a patient's tumor to guide the treatment decision. These include targeted therapies that, unlike systemic chemotherapy,  selectively attack only the cancer cells. Two such drugs, Tarceva and Avastin, have already been approved for several types of lung cancer. The program is committed long-term to to offering patients trials for every type and stage of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies.

Training at Leading Centers

Our surgeons have all trained at leading academic medical centers renowned for their clinical excellence in thoracic oncology and thoracic surgery. 

Low Operative Mortality and Fewer Complications

For lung and esophageal cancer surgery, experience  counts. The UCSF Thoracic Oncology Program, a high volume referral center for Northern California and the Western U.S., performs nearly four hundred major procedures annually, more than any  program on the West Coast.

Numerous published studies have demonstrated that lung and esophageal cancer patients had fewer complications and better outcomes when having their surgery at high volume medical centers like UCSF. For non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease, overall operative mortality is UCSF  less than one-percent (1%).

Hosptial Volume




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