Dec 20, 2017 9:00 AM

John Stringham, MD
John Stringham, MD

John Stringham, MD, joined Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the University of Utah from University of Virginia Health System. A cardiothoracic surgeon, he specializes in lung transplant surgery and also has a special interest in lung cancer surgery for patients with lung failure. He discusses his interests in minimally invasive surgery and why HCI provides hope for patients with lung cancer.

What services do you provide for cancer patients at HCI?

I’m a thoracic surgeon oncologist. I perform a wide range of surgeries for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, sarcomas, and other rare or unusual cancer cases. I have a special expertise in lung transplant and in surgery for lung cancer patients with lung failure.

Our team focuses on techniques that leave patients with as much lung tissue as possible, without compromising their outcomes. For example, we’ve focused on lung segmentectomy instead of lobectomy, and even minimally invasive segmentectomies. We also do minimally invasive esophagectomies.

HCI is the only place in the Mountain West with a robotic thoracic surgery program. With smaller incisions and more delicate maneuvering, patients are having much less pain, to the point that some are not taking narcotic pain medications after surgery. It’s been a real revelation. We’re hopefully making surgery better tolerated, so folks are able to get back to being active and living life.

HCI is also one of the top cancer centers in the nation for sarcoma care. The chest wall surgeries we do for tumor resection and reconstruction are very important.

What brought you to HCI?

HCI is a great institution with a lot of resources available to help treat cancer patients and I wanted to be part of that. I also saw a big need for dedicated thoracic surgeons in the Mountain West, and it was a great opportunity to help grow this program and bring new technologies to Utah and the region.

What sets HCI apart for patient care?

All of our care is focused on the patient, with a team approach. We want to get people better as quickly and safely as possible. At the same time, we do try to be innovative and bring new technologies to the arena. We want to give state-of-the-art care to our patients. We are an NCI-Designated Cancer Center, so being able to use all those resources, clinical trials, and research studies for advanced cases is great.

What should other physicians know about the lung cancer program at HCI?

I think most people see lung cancer as a horrible disease that people die of. Unfortunately, that can be true. At the same time, at HCI we have cutting-edge therapeutics like immunotherapy that are extremely promising and may even get people to resection when they have advanced disease.

Because of our training at distinguished institutions, our thoracic surgery team has a high level of expertise and even experience treating rare cancers. We’re glad to bring that expertise to the Mountain West and provide outstanding care close to home for our patients.

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