My name is Jeff Tyner
and my specialty is thoracic oncology surgery and
adult cardiac surgery. With regard to
thoracic oncology, the predominant procedure we do
is involved with lung surgery
and lung cancer surgery. But we’re also involved
in any malignancy that involves the chest or a benign procedure as well. I think what makes
my practice of thoracic oncology special is my association
with the other specialists — specialists that are involved
in thoracic oncology — and the technical aspects
of what we do. There’s radiation oncology,
there’s pathology, there are pulmonary physicians,
there are radiologists and myself,
representing surgical oncology. So when a patient sees
one of us, they basically see all of us. But I think what is equally
important is that we now have a navigator to help facilitate
this response. Somebody who is sort of
a touchstone for the patient so that they help the patient get through this continuum
of care to minimize the time
between diagnosis and therapy. When a patient
gets a diagnosis of cancer, they tend to glaze over and sort of understandably,
it’s a big emotional issue. And having somebody
who can help focus them, like our navigator,
to help them get through this, get to see the specialists
they need to, not only provides
an emotional support for the patient,
but also expedites their care. With regard to the surgical aspects
of surgery, I think the big things
that have happened really are threefold. One is that we now do
our surgery in a minimally invasive fashion, so it has a much less
impact on the patient with regard to moving forward
in recovery. We’ve also found that
we can do a more limited resection of the lung
for lung tumors, so long term,
patients are losing less lung, so it has more of a
minor impact on them. The Scripps MD Anderson partnership
is a very special one because it allows
patients a couple of things. One is it allows them access
to the technical care and expertise Scripps
has been delivering for decades. But the other part is
it allows them access to input from the world’s leader
in cancer care. For example,
if there’s clinical trials that may benefit them
in some special way, they have access to that
so they know they’re getting cutting-edge technology
along with the local care that they’ve always
come to expect from Scripps. For example,
we have patients that have resectable lung cancer and now they have access
to a clinical trial that’s involving immunotherapy. So we’re actually using
the patient’s own immune system to fight their lung cancer in addition to
taking it out surgically. So these are very exciting times
for lung cancer patients. And I think this
combined approach — so they’re not just seeing me, they’re not just seeing
an oncologist — they’re basically seeing
everybody at once, really reassures them that they’re getting the care
that they need and getting multiple inputs and they have this navigator
to help them get through the system in an efficient
fashion. I think our
multidisciplinary approach to thoracic oncology provides the best opportunity
for patients, not just to get
the information they need to satisfy their own concerns or their family’s concerns
about their oncology, but also to get different opinions with regard to how to approach this. But equally, how to recover
afterwards and how to regain
their lifestyle after surgery. And I think Scripps by this spectrum of care
that we deliver both pre-op with diagnostic care
to facilitate the timeframe from
diagnosis to therapy, helps minimize the impact
of this malignancy on them so they can again
get back to their life and the things that they
enjoy doing. When patients come
for their first visit it usually is
the most important visit in my mind. It allows us to
meet with them and talk with them
and come to understand what their expectations
and what their concerns are. And it allows us
to really understand and have the patients know
that we see them not just as somebody
with a malignancy, but somebody with the life
outside of the hospital. I think probably one of
the most satisfying parts of my job
is when I see patients back post-operatively
in follow-up. Their incisions have healed. Their X-ray looks good, and they’re looking forward. And they’re coming with
their partner or their spouse, and they both are happy
with their recovery. They’re beginning to start
doing their hiking again. They’re taking walks
on the beach, and they’ve returned to activity, and they can see a future
out there past this malignancy. I call everybody the night
before surgery, at home, just to touch base with them. Let them know we’re thinking
about them — that we’re prepared. We have everything we need
for surgery, and we encourage them
to call us at anytime as well.