UConn Health Plans for Tomorrow with Clinical Trials to Better Treat Lung Cancer Today

Pat Davis, emergency operator at UConn Health Hospital, is often making code calls to help save other people’s lives, and she credits Dr. Omar Ibrahim, director, Interventional Pulmonary, for saving her own life.

At an annual check-up, her primary care physician, Dr. Beatriz Tendler, associate professor of medicine, section of hypertension and vascular diseases, Endocrine Neoplasia Service at UConn Health, asked her if there was anything new or she knew about. needed. Davis mentioned that sometimes she was having slight discomfort when lying down at night, almost like mild indigestion. Tendler sent her for a CT scan that day to see what might be the problem. Shortly after 10 p.m. that night, Davis received a call from Tenderler saying she was referring Ibrahim to Pulmonology.

“I knew right away that something was wrong,” Davis says.

Pat Davis loves traveling and spending time with his family.

When Ibrahim reviews the scan, he is 99% sure it is cancer.

“Once he said ‘cancer,’ I didn’t hear anything else. I was very moved and he was very comforting,” Davis says. “He and his nurse took me to another room and they Said ‘we’re going to do it together.'”

Ibrahim gives her the options and tells her that he will leave it to her to choose, but warns her not to take too long in making a decision as cancer is curable very quickly.

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death, accounting for approximately 25% of all cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more people die from lung cancer each year than from colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer, although lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes and the amount of time you smoke. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for several years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.

The ACS advises that health care providers, and people at increased risk for lung cancer, for annual lung cancer screening from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), or the American Follow the most recently updated recommendations. College of Chest Physicians:

These organizations recommend annual lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans for people with:
are 50 to 80 years old and in fairly good health,
And
currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years,
And
Have a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years. (This is the number of cigarette packs per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 10 years [2 x 10 = 20] is 20 pack-years of smoking, as does a person who smokes 1 pack a day for 20 years [1 x 20 = 20],

“The goal of a CT scan is to catch cancer in its early stages so you can treat and remove it,” says Ibrahim.

The best chance of beating lung cancer is to remove it through resection or by removing part of the lung. This standard of care is carried out by a surgeon who will perform a lobectomy or lobectomy to remove the parts of the lung that are cancerous.

After discussing with her family, Davis elected to have a vagectomy, and two spots on her lungs, which were cancerous, were removed.

Dr. Omar Ibrahim, UConn Health interventional pulmonologist, demonstrates the new robotic bronchoscopy machine, known as the Monarch, on March 18, 2019. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)

“About four years ago here at UConn Health, we decided to push the envelope on how to treat patients with lung cancer in the Hartford area,” Ibrahim says. “We were the first in New England to use CT and robotic bronchoscopy, a small scope that can reach small nodules in the lungs and find cancer early. Since then we have developed cone CT scans used in conjunction with bronchoscopy. moving forward with.”

However, lung cancer is often found in later stages, which are not routinely screened for and patients who are not eligible or capable of surgery.

“What sets us apart at UConn Health is our ability to think about tomorrow and how we will treat patients who cannot be treated with surgery,” Ibrahim says. “Some patients have recurrences or can’t have surgery because the lung function is too poor, so we want to treat patients with minimally invasive techniques, using bronchoscopy to inject chemotherapy and immune agents into the tumor and Starting a clinical trial in a few months.Heat modality is being used to remove the tumor through ablation technique.”

While Davis isn’t sure where her lung cancer originated, she smoked earlier in her life but quit 20 years ago. She is very active, loves dancing and being with her grandchildren, so she never thought her chest discomfort was lung cancer because she didn’t have any other symptoms.

“You have to be an advocate and vigilant about your health,” says Davis, “If I hadn’t spoken about that discomfort in my chest and the doctor hadn’t ordered a CT scan, I don’t think I’d be here.” Would.” “Dr Ibrahim saved my life, I give credit to him for telling me what to do and guiding me through it all.

Davis is now cancer-free for six years, as of November 12, 2022.

“I say yes to life and living my best life because I’m not going to waste this second chance,” Davis says.

Ibrahim says his advice to patients is to encourage them to quit smoking—smoking cessation programs are widely available.

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