Welcoming Igor Brichkov, MD, FACS ment,” explains Rutgers cancer institute radiation oncologist Salma Jabbour, mD, an associate professor of radiation oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson medical School. “We meet to discuss patients who need multidisciplinary involvement. After we review all the information at hand—medical history, operative findings, pathology, PeT scans, cT scans—we plan the best approach.” condit suffered a setback with her chemotherapy, which is standard of care for stage ii tumors. “i was very sick, like i had a virus blown up 1,000 percent,” says condit. “it was much worse than the surgery.” Her reaction could have been chemo-related or viral, says Rutgers cancer institute medical oncologist Jyoti malhotra, mD, mPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson medical School, who administered the chemotherapy. Following the chemotherapy, she had 28 doses of radiation therapy, without complications. “Radiation therapy was given because of concerns over possible mediastinal lymph node involvement,” says Dr. Jabbour. “These lymph nodes are found in the center of the chest, between the lungs. Because her tumor invaded that area, radiation was a precautionary measure. We’ll monitor her closely to watch for recurrence.” in the past, patients with stage ii lung cancer were given a 50 percent chance of recovery. Patients at Rutgers cancer institute are encouraged to focus on quality of life rather than statistical odds. With advances in treatment, the odds are continuing to improve for lung cancer patients. condit, now a non-smoker who avoids even second-hand smoke like the plague, embraces that approach. She’s back to doing everything she enjoys: movies, dinners out, exercise, family time, trips to Atlantic city. And of course, working. Apart from occasional slight shortness of breath, she feels great. She believes attitude is a vital part of recovery. “i see many people with cancer in the pharmacy. Some of them feel sorry for themselves and sit around and cry,” she says. “i won’t be like that. Attitude and perseverance get you through the tough stuff. you must be a fighter. So that’s what i’m doing.” I racic surgeon Igor Brichkov, MD, FACS, is now part of the team, serving as Director of Advanced general thoracic esophageal and Robotic surgery. A clinical educator in the Division of surgical oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical school, he comes from Albert einstein College of Medicine and Maimonides Medical Center in New york, where he helped build the largest minimally invasive thoracic surgery program in brooklyn and helped start a lung cancer screening program for highrisk patients. since completing his training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Dr. brichkov focuses on minimally invasive techniques in treating common thoracic surgical problems and has an expertise in cancerous and non-cancerous disorders of the esophagus. As you read in Resa Condit’s story (see page 20), minimally invasive thoracic surgery leads to shorter hospital stays, less postoperative pain, and a quicker recovery. in addition to conventional laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgical options, there are other less invasive options for patients with benign and malignant thoracic diseases including robotic surgery, incisionless techniques for ablation of lung tumors and endoscopic natural orifice treatments for esophageal tumors, all of which are available through the lung Cancer/thoracic oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer institute. I A dding to the expertise of the comprehensive lung Cancer/thoracic oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer institute of New Jersey, tho- n the past, patients with stage II lung cancer were given a 50 percent chance of recovery. With advances in treatment, the odds are continuing to improve for lung cancer patients. I Brichkov speaks fluent Russian and Spanish and is able to communicate well with patients who speak these languages. To make an appointment with him or any other physician from the Lung Cancer/Thoracic Oncology Program, call 732-235-8515. 24 I Cancer Connection I Autumn 2016 Photo by: Debbie Vogel