Chief of Thoracic Surgery David Jones, who specializes in treating people with cancer of the lung, esophagus, and pleural lining, discusses the speed and quality of our care.
“How have you been feeling?”
“I feel good.”
When patients come to Memorial Sloan Kettering, it’s just a global level of expertise. Literally, everyone here is pushing the envelope in terms of finding a way to cure cancer.
My name is David Jones. I'm the professor and chief of thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I see patients who have lung cancer, esophageal cancer, tumors of the trachea and the bronchus, as well as tumors that have spread to the lungs from other organs.
“How are you?”
“Okay. How are you?”
“I’m good. It’s good to see you.”
When patients come to see me, some of their biggest concerns are, of course, their life expectancy. They're also concerned a lot about what impact the treatment may have on them in terms of their quality of life. And we take a lot of time to really talk to them about how important the treatment is, but how we can minimize, through a careful kind of personalized plan, the toxicities that are associated with any type of cancer treatment.
I try to reassure them and tell them, you know, I've seen cases exactly like yours. We've managed them here at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and they've had outstanding outcomes. Yes, it's going to be difficult, but you have a team here. When they get the sense that there is really people who care about them, behind them, I think it is reassuring.
“This is his scan from today - chest, abdomen, and pelvis.”
The types of treatments that I have expertise in really deal with minimally invasive surgeries. You know, we used to make very large incisions, and spread the ribs and sometimes even remove a rib, and we just don't do that anymore.
We're understanding better how tumors grow, and how they spread, and designing therapies, including immunotherapy and targeted therapies to attack these tumors. So that is extraordinarily exciting.
I have over 23 years of experience in dealing with patients and their tumors. That depth of experience and seeing so many different types of cancers and how they behave and working with other physicians to better understand the tumor and how to best treat it, is really the reason to come and see me.
It's a little humbling to have the privilege of taking care of patients. They have an amazing amount of resilience and mental and emotional fortitude. They are strong. They're so grateful that someone is caring for them. I'm grateful to them for the privilege.