From an interview with
Dr. Vinod Jona
McLeod Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. It’s caused by harmful cells in the lungs that grow unchecked. Treatments typically include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation and targeted drugs. Facilitating these services during a patient’s cancer journey is traditionally a lengthy process; however, McLeod pulmonologist Dr. Vinod Jona says McLeod’s team approach means care is coordinated to meet each patient’s unique needs.
What’s the average treatment timeline for someone with lung cancer?
What we’ve seen is on average, a patient has to wait two or three months to receive a diagnosis, and then maybe four months to have a treatment plan. This is because a patient comes to a pulmonologist, then waits two weeks to go to a radiation oncologist, then waits two weeks for a plan, two weeks for a surgeon, and there’s just a huge waiting period for these things.
Why are the McLeod Health Multidisciplinary Lung Conferences different?
In this multidisciplinary conference, we have all the physicians in one room and they don’t stop the patient going to each and every other doctor here. They’re in one room and they know what it is, and they go to that specific doctor and it’s taken care of.
What happens during the conference?
In general, sometimes it’s a difficult decision, and you have various physicians recommending various options, but it’s good for the patients to listen to those things. But ultimately it’s the patient and their physician who makes the call, but all the other physicians can give their opinion. But we ultimately believe that the physician and the patient are the main decision makers.
How does this virtual/online conference benefit patients’ family members who live out of state?
We have had patients or family members from Atlanta. There was a family member from Virginia. There was a family member from New Jersey, in Florida. In fact, there was one patient who was in Florida who attended our conference. So it’s convenient for the patients. They don’t have to travel all the way over here to multiple physicians, and they are able to get better care from this conference.
How do patients feel about participating in the conference?
The multidisciplinary conference has been great. The patients are very happy, the family members are happy, and the team is happy so that they know what’s really going on with all the patients.
And how do you feel about participating in the conference?
I’m proud of our multidisciplinary conference and I think it is a team approach. This is probably the best place for cancer treatment I can think of.
To learn more, speak with a pulmonologist near you.