Columbia Launches Women’s Lung and Health Center
A growing number of non-smoking women, many of them young, contract lung cancer every year and are often diagnosed with an advanced stage malignancy. This fall, NYP/Columbia opened the Women’s Lung and Health Center, one of only two programs in the nation to serve this under-recognized patient population.
While an estimated 220,000 new cases of lung cancer with 150,000 deaths will be reported in 2017, almost half of these will be women. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women and these patients die at almost twice the rate as breast cancer, the second leading cancer in the United States.
Recent data also shows that 15 percent of lung cancer patients are nonsmokers; approximately two thirds of these are women. “We want to find out why women are especially vulnerable,” says B. Payne Stanifer, MD, MPH, a thoracic surgeon who serves as director of this multidisciplinary center. “Is this because of their exposure to an environmental toxin? Is there an unrecognized hormonal component that makes women with minimal or no smoking history more likely to develop lung cancer?” The Center will focus on
- Providing most comprehensive clinical care available for these patients
- Offering latest therapies, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation oncology and surgery
- Addressing metastatic cancer to the lungs
- Creating screening pathways for patients who might have unrecognized risk factors
- Expanding to include programs on nutrition, wellness, and survivorship.
“Lung cancer used to be associated with long-term smokers, but today we’re diagnosing far too many mothers in their 40s, who have seemingly healthy lifestyles, with this disease, many at an advanced stage,” says Dr. Stanifer.
Gender disparities are also present in other lung diseases such as interstitial lung disease, asthma and COPD, and bronchiectasis. The center is bringing on board multiple medical specialists in pulmonology and medical oncology to address these areas as well.
All patients will have instant access to the many experts and disciplines available at a world-class medical center through the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our multidisciplinary team will include:
- Angela DiMango, MD, Pulmonology, with expertise in treating Bronchiectasis
- Cathy Shu, MD, Medical Oncology, Lung cancer
- Keith Brenner, MD, Pulmonology, Asthma/COPD
- Nina Patel, MD, Pulmonology ILD