Patients with Lung Cancer Treated by Multidisciplinary Teams May Live Substantially Longer

Patients with Lung Cancer Treated by Multidisciplinary Teams May Live Substantially Longer


A recently published study in the journal Clinical Lung Cancer showed that patients diagnosed with lung cancer who were treated by Stony Brook University Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Evaluation Center’s (LCEC) multidisciplinary care team had significantly higher one-, three-, five- and 10-year survival rates when compared to those treated by the current standard of care. The one-year survival rate for stage one lung cancer is 92.4 percent with the LCEC multidisciplinary approach versus 79.2 percent with standard care. The five-year survival rate for stage one is 52.5 percent versus 32.5 percent, respectively.

Thomas Bilfinger, MD, the founder and director of Stony Brook’s LCEC, explained that there had long been interest among the greater medical community for “deploying a multidisciplinary model” for lung cancer. Dr. Bilfinger and a team of investigators evaluated survival outcomes among more than 4,000 patients with lung cancer over a 14-year period; 1,956 were participants in the Stony Brook multidisciplinary care model, while 2,315 received traditional care.

Throughout most of the country, patients are generally responsible for coordinating their own care, making appointments and ensuring information and test results get transmitted to the doctors who need it. But, with a multidisciplinary model, offered by a limited number of sites in the country, the care is centralized, which helps to eliminate delays and hasten treatment. And today, with more than a decade of data, doctors now have scientific proof that the team model is effective.

How the Multidisciplinary Model Works

Patients with lung cancer who receive treatment at the Cancer Center are cared for by an entire team composed of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, imaging specialists, pulmonary specialists, nurse practitioners, nutritionists and a patient navigator. The navigator is a pivotal team player, responsible for coordinating each patient’s care with the different medical team members, providing help with scheduling appointments and serving as a compassionate support coach.

A Few Facts about Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second-most diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the U.S. Lung cancer generally affects older people – age 60 and above. Fortunately, U.S. lung cancer rates are beginning to decrease as fewer people are smoking and more are getting screened. When lung cancer is found at an early stage, it is more treatable.

Who Should Get Screened

According to Barbara Nemesure, PhD, Director of the Lung Cancer Program and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Stony Brook Cancer Center, individuals should speak with their healthcare provider about getting screened if they have never been diagnosed with lung cancer and are:

  • 50 years of age or older
  • A current or former smoker

To make an appointment for a lung cancer screening at Stony Brook Cancer Center’s Center for Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention, call (631) 638-7000. For lung cancer evaluation, diagnosis or treatment at the LCEC, call (631) 444-2981.