Lung Cancer Treatment in Israel
Lung cancer is presently the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, the third most common cancer in women, and a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, classified by how the cells appear under a microscope. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common, comprising about 85-90% of all cases.
If lung cancer is diagnosed, staging tests will be performed to determine how far the cancer has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and other organs. Based on the type and stage, our doctors at Sheba Medical Center will design the most effective, personalized treatment program. We offer a range of options for advanced lung cancer treatment in Israel.
Types of Lung Cancer Treatment in Israel
Sheba’s Cancer Center uses the latest diagnostic technologies to stage lung cancer and determine the most suitable therapies for each patient. We are dedicated to practicing integrative medicine based on progressive clinical research results and a holistic, personalized touch.
Lung cancer can be treated with several types of therapy, depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread. In general, surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these options will be used to treat people with non-small cell lung cancer. Patients with small cell lung cancer are typically treated with chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy.
A review of the options for lung cancer treatment in Israel:
Surgery to remove cancer tissue (resection) remains the gold standard to achieving complete healing from lung tumors. Whenever possible, Sheba’s thoracic surgeons use minimally invasive procedures, such as video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), to encourage a faster recovery and preserve as much healthy lung tissue as possible. Usually, nearby lymph nodes are also removed in case they contain cancer cells.
Depending on the location and size of the tumor, the following types of resections may be performed:
- Wedge resection to remove the small part of the lung that contains the tumor with a minimal margin of healthy tissue. Typically, this is only possible for early stage 1 or 2 lung cancer.
- Segmental resection to remove a larger part of the lung, but not the entire lobe
- Lobectomy to resect the entire lobe of one lung
- Pneumonectomy to resect an entire lung
Following surgery, most lung cancer patients require comprehensive rehabilitation and exercise training, which is provided by Sheba’s Lung Disease Institute.
After a tumor is surgically removed, adjuvant therapy is frequently carried out to eliminate the possibility of any residual cancer cells. Typically, this treatment involves administering intravenous chemotherapy drugs.
At Sheba, we employ state-of-the-art technologies to administer radiation (high energy rays) in a targeted manner, thereby damaging the tumor without causing damage to surrounding tissues. Radiation is best suited for tumors that have not spread and when the tumor is located in a position where it cannot be surgically removed (such as next to vital tissue).
When radiation is used for lung cancer treatment in Israel, it targets the chest area and may therefore lead to side effects such as coughing, pain when swallowing, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, and localized redness and dryness.
Chemotherapy uses specialized drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. It can be administered through oral pills, intravenous injection or infusion. The goal of all chemotherapy medication is to interfere with the life cycle of the cancer cells, thereby preventing their growth and hindering the spread of cancer. A variety of chemotherapy drugs are available to treat lung cancer, and Sheba’s doctors will determine the specific types – or combination of types – that will be most effective for each unique patient.
Using a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be recommended to fight stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer. While this treatment can be difficult and cause more serious side effects, it can often destroy the tumor before it spreads to the rest of the body, facilitating full healing. After combination therapy at Sheba, patients are monitored closely with physical exams and imaging tests to check if the disease recurs.
Targeted therapy uses drugs to inhibit a specific mechanism in cancer cells, thereby blocking their growth and causing cancer cells to die. This type of lung cancer treatment in Israel is used only for recurrent cancer or advanced stage 4 lung cancer patients (metastasis). Targeted biologic drugs can be very effective and cause minimal side effects. To customize a biologic drug to a cancerous tumor, Sheba’s physicians will take a sample of the tumor and perform molecular testing for certain genetic mutations.
Immunotherapy drugs work by mobilizing the body’s immune system cells to fight cancer. Normally, cancer cells have a way to avoid being destroyed by the immune system, either via genetic changes that hide their presence or with proteins on their surface that impair or shut down the immune system. Immunotherapy treatment enables the immune system to respond more strongly against cancer, and some of these drugs can be particularly effective against lung cancer.
Why choose Sheba for Lung Cancer Treatment in Israel?
Lung cancer treatment at Sheba’s state-of-the-art Cancer Center offers frontline therapies provided by world-class experts. A multidisciplinary team collaborates to design and administer lung cancer treatment for each patient. Leading specialists, including pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, and pathologists work together to optimize the treatment outcome.
Our Lung Cancer Laboratory is actively involved in the latest research for preventing and treating lung cancer, so you will benefit from pioneering therapies as soon as they are available. Sheba is currently investigating various biomolecular markers for lung cancer. We are also working in partnership with Johns Hopkins University in the US to identify genetic and epigenetic changes in lung cancer, among other studies. Results are promising, and we are optimistic about applying our findings to develop new lung cancer treatments in Israel.
Sheba Medical Center adheres to the highest standards of quality and safety in healthcare. We are fully accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). In addition, we are dedicated to providing every patient with efficient and holistic services. To that end, a personal medical coordinator from our International Medical Tourism Division is assigned to every family to assist with every detail, including communication in your language.
Amir Onn, MD
Head, Institute of Pulmonary Oncology
Head, Lung Cancer Research Laboratory
Dr. Onn specializes in invasive therapy of lung cancer and is the Program Director for the Sheba Medical Cancer Center/MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas sister institution partnership. Dr. Onn earned his MD degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed pulmonary training at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
Sheba Medical Center
Amir Onn, MD
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