Francis D. Sheski, M.D., believes that researchers must focus more on the earliest detection of lung cancer as well as less invasive treatment alternatives to traditional surgery.
“The identification of early-stage lung cancer provides no advantage if we have little to offer the patient short of traditional therapy,” Sheski wrote in a winter 2000 issue of Cancer Control magazine.
His article considers the possibility that someday patients won’t need to undergo a major operation for tumor removal. Instead, their early-stage lung cancers will be eradicated with lasers and tiny tools delivered through super-thin flexible tubes like bronchoscopes and thorascopes – reducing patient recovery time, pain and cost.
Fast Fact: Dr. Sheski completed two fellowships: pulmonary medicine at Indiana University and critical care medicine at the University of Florida.
Sheski is an interventional pulmonologist – the type of doctor who uses and is perfecting these alternative surgical techniques to treat lung cancer. Today these techniques are largely used to reduce tumor size, increase patient comfort or sample tissues for biopsies.
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Sheski brings his expertise to the Thoracic Oncology Program at Indiana University’s Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis.
This program brings together radiation experts, chemotherapy doctors, surgeons and pulmonologists (lung specialists) to treat patients who have chest and neck cancers. The Simon Cancer Center has been a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center since 1999.
Currently 300 clinical trials are under way – paid for with $11.5 million in NCI grants and $32.5 in grant money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In addition to his position at the Simon Cancer Center, Sheski is an associate professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, Occupational and Sleep Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
He is a board-certified physician in four areas: family medicine, internal medicine, critical care and pulmonary medicine.
Sheski’s eight medical publications have appeared in journals such as Respiration, Chest Journal and Lancet.
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