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Treatment at Vanderbilt (Nashville)


Lee and Chi

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We have begun treatment here in our hometown, but Mom is still considering seeking treatment at a comprehensive cancer center. Most people from our area go to M.D. Anderson, but Vanderbilt is closer to us and is also a comprehensive cancer center. (Plus I start my MSN there in the fall....so, yes, I am a bit biased)

Has anyone been there for treatment who could offer an experience? I have read only good things, but I can't find anyone around here who has been there. I know they have lots of grants and funding and clinical trials at the moment for LC. They are definitely on top of the game with that, but I want to hear from a REAL person!

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I met with Dr. Carbone at Vanderbilt for my second opinion. He is very smart and told me they pretty much do anything they think might help someone. He agreed with my treatment plan and told me to feel free to contact him when I'm at a point where I'm needing some more options. He was, however, very blunt and told me to get used to the idea of not seeing my children's high school graduation. I did not like that, but I guess the point was to remind me they couldn't cure me??? I prefer my doctor's one day at a time, open-ended approach, but other than that I thought it was a good meeting.

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Since you seem to be really far away from TN, was it an option for you to be "treated" by the doctors at Vandy but to have your actual "treatments" at home in AZ?

Also, were you currently being treated when you scheduled your appointment at Vanderbilt? My mom is already on chemo, but I want to have the back up plan fully installed and ready to go just in case. She doesn't do well waiting around for decisions and treatment options.

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I was already in treatment when I met with Dr. Carbone. I don't know about the option of having him be in charge but being treated in AZ. We asked about how it would work and he mentioned traveling back and forth to Nashville or moving there. The other option wasn't mentioned, but we didn't specifically ask either.

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Hi and welcome! Good to be thinking ahead. My husband saw Dr. Alan Sandler and he was enrolled in a clinical trial there. They are really on top of it there. We very much liked Dr. Sandler. Unfortunately, the clinical trial did not work for Charlie and there were only phase I trials that he could have qualified for after that. But, they were willing to look at other options for him if we needed them. Since Charlie had such an aggressive team of doctors here in Knoxville, we stayed with them after the clinical trial. Take care.

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I can't offer a patient perspective, but I can assure you that Vanderbilt is a highly respected program that has many research opportunities in addition to standard treatment. Dr. Carbone and Dr. Alan Sandler are both very well known throughout the world as leaders in lung cancer and clinical research, and their boss is Dr. David Johnson, who was previously the chairman of the lung cancer committee for a cancer research cooperative group called ECOG -- that's a big job. He was also previously the president of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the enormous US-based clinical oncology association. Suffice it to say that their program is pretty solid in lung cancer.

That's not to knock MD Anderson, which is enormous and arguably the most prominent cancer center in the world. But there's lots of great people and opportunities at both places.

-Dr. West

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