Combating Lung Cancer on the Operating Table
Dr. Alan Mullins
One of the most important ways to combat lung cancer is using surgery to remove it, said Dr. Alan Mullins, a general surgeon with Owensboro Health Medical Group – Surgical Specialists. Dr. Mullins performs lung cancer surgeries on a regular basis in addition to his general surgery cases.
In years past, there were fewer lung cancer cases where surgery was an option. That is shifting as low-dose CT screening increases the number of cases detected while the cancer is still in its early stages.
“The overall outcome of lung cancer has not changed much, unfortunately. Screening may hold better hope for that,” Dr. Mullins said. “That’s certainly the hope and the intention of these screenings, to detect patients’ cancer earlier, when more of them may be surgical candidates and be curable.”
A minimally invasive surgical approach is one of the keys to success in these cases, Dr. Mullins said.
“It’s clear that a minimally invasive technique is superior to open surgery in terms of patient outcome,” Dr. Mullins said. “There’s less blood loss. It’s a better, quicker recovery. There’s less pain and fewer problems for the patient.”
Dr. Mullins added that his work as a surgeon greatly benefits from the work of pulmonologists like Dr. Michael Muzoora.
“One of the other things that’s a big change in cancer is that staging is better, a lot more accurate, and less invasive because of the capabilities of pulmonologists,” Dr. Mullins said. “The patients that are getting surgery are more accurately staged, and therefore doing better.”