Episode 60: Does frequent surveillance improve lung cancer patient outcomes?

Dr. Kozower, a thoracic surgeon, discusses the role of surgery in lung cancer treatment and the use of surgery in the diagnosis of lung cancer. The conversation then shifts to the PCORI study on lung cancer surveillance, where Dr. Kozower explains that the intensity of surveillance, such as the frequency of CT scans, does not impact survival rates for lung cancer patients in retrospect. We also ponder the future of lung cancer treatments.

This episode was supported by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and features this PCORI study by Dr. Kozower.

About our guest

Benjamin D. Kozower, MD, MPH is a Professor and Vice Chair of Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. He completed his General Surgery training at the University of Connecticut in 2004 and his Cardiothoracic Surgery residency at Washington University in 2006. Dr. Kozower worked at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA from 2006-2016 until returning to St. Louis in 2016. He is a General Thoracic Surgeon with a focus in thoracic oncology and directs the Thoracic Robotic Program at Barnes Jewish Hospital. He is also a clinical outcomes and health services researcher with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

Watch the video of our episode on YouTube

  • 8 minutes:

    "Surgery is the traditional treatment for early-stage lung cancer, patients who have small tumors typically confined to the lung when hopefully it can be curative."

  • 15 minutes:

    "Everybody's followed after their cancer treatment. What's not clear is how often should we follow people?...'The more frequently I'm seen, the earlier something could be detected and the better I'll do.' Makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it's true."

  • 35 minutes:

    “Fortunately now we're starting to see the development of targeted therapies for specific [lung cancer] mutations. We're starting to see different types of therapies, and not just chemotherapy, but something called immunotherapy, which stimulates the body's immune system to help fight the cancer. So these things have dramatically changed the paradigm of how we treat lung cancers.”

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