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Dr. Adam Lackey doesn’t leave his mesothelioma patients when the surgery ends.
As he often reminds them, he is there for the long haul.
Lackey is a thoracic surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in suburban Detroit and takes charge of the complex pleural mesothelioma cases that continue to increase.
He has teamed with longtime radiation oncologist and mesothelioma specialist Dr. Craig Stevens to provide patients with excellent multidisciplinary care without them having to cross the country to a larger specialty center.
“I tell my [mesothelioma] patients when they come that they are signing up for the Big Show here. This is not a one week, one month or even a six-month deal,” he said. “I’m going to be involved in your care for the rest of your life. We are forming a partnership against this disease.”
The Beaumont Medical Group includes the Midwest Thoracic Surgery, a team of surgeons dedicated to providing comprehensive, surgical care to patients with lung, esophagus or mediastinum diseases.
He spends considerable time talking with his surgical patients about making a long-term mental and physical commitment. Lackey makes sure they know about survivors, even when the typical prognosis can be grim.
“These are projects. For these patients, this is not working up to one particular moment in life, show up for surgery, and that’s it,” Lackey said. “They have to sustain the optimism and resolve for a long time. It’s very important from a functional standpoint that they maintain hope as we go through it together.”
Despite advancements in therapy, a typical diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma still comes with a prognosis of only 6-18 months. And the majority of patients are not candidates for aggressive surgery that can extend survival time with a curative approach.
“Of all the studies that are done, there always are a few long-term survivors who live 5-10-15 years. I tell our patients, you may end up dying from this disease, but we will do everything we possibly can to buy you more quality time,” he said. “And you may actually be one of those long-term survivors.”
Beaumont can offer multimodal therapy that includes a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, depending on a variety of factors.
Lackey started with Beaumont in 2013 after finishing a fellowship at New York Medical College, where he trained with legendary Dr. Harvey Pass, who has been studying pleural mesothelioma for four decades.
Pass taught him the intricacies of the pleurectomy/decortication and extrapleural pneumonectomy surgeries that Lackey now performs at Beaumont.
“One of the biggest surgeries that any thoracic surgeon can do is the extrapleural pneumonectomy,” he said. “We can offer that at Beaumont, along with the same level of excellent care you’ll find at a bigger center. We have the capability of doing just about everything there is to do. There is nothing we don’t have.”
Lackey graduated from the University of Virginia Medical School. He completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
His surgical group specializes in minimally invasive techniques for lung cancer and esophageal cancer. They handle all types of pleural effusions, pneumothoraces, gastroesophageal reflux and hyperhidrosis, along with many other diseases. The group also offers a full spectrum of endoscopy procedures for the esophagus and lungs.