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Published on November 27, 2013

DCMH Lung Cancer Care: Patients Share Stories of Promise

In Brief

  • Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) is partnered with Fox Chase Cancer Center to offer the latest advances in lung cancer care and treatments. DCMH utilizes a team approach with input from patients’ primary care doctors, oncologists, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists and others to provide the most comprehensive care.
  • Among its program offerings, DCMH provides support from nurse navigators to guide patients and their families through treatment, as well as smoking cessation support and low-cost lung cancer screenings ($125) for eligible individuals who are the most at risk.
  • DCMH is dedicated to providing personalized, comprehensive care for all patients, including Barbara White and Robert Fagan, who shared their stories about the individualized care they received at DCMH. 

As we count our blessings and celebrate the holiday season this month, 71-year-old Barbara White is also marking another important occasion. December is the one-year anniversary of her lung cancer surgery at Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) — a procedure that likely saved her life.

“I’ve been blessed, I truly have,” White says.

Retired United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Robert Fagan is also about a year out from his lung cancer surgery, which he had last January at DCMH following a cancer diagnosis in November 2012. Like White, Fagan was determined to beat the disease. Following his surgery and a series of chemotherapy treatments, Fagan’s tests show today that he is cancer-free.

“I told everybody I could beat this thing, but having Dr. Su on my side gave me confidence,” Fagan says of Stacey Su, M.D., director of Thoracic Surgical Oncology at DCMH and a Fox Chase Cancer Center thoracic surgeon. “For everything she did, she explained why. … She is my superstar. It’s like she gave me my life back.”

Helping patients like White and Fagan identify lung cancer as early as possible and get personalized, effective treatment is what drives the Thoracic Surgery program at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

A partnership between DCMH and Fox Chase Cancer Center has made it possible to provide patients at DCMH and throughout the surrounding community with exceptional, comprehensive care in fighting this devastating disease — which claims more lives than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

"For patients who are facing a lung cancer diagnosis, the care they receive at Crozer-Keystone extends well beyond the Thoracic Surgery program and is truly a team approach with input from patients’ primary care doctors, oncologists, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists and others,” Su says. “Often, our patients are referred to us by other doctors in the Crozer-Keystone Health Network who play an important role in identifying problems early on and facilitating effective treatment.”

This was the case for both Fagan and White, whose cancer was identified last year during a routine chest X-ray.

My primary care physician is the one who I owe kudos to because of his diligence,” White says of Celsus Ebba, M.D., DCMH internal medicine physician. “He knows I had been a smoker in the past, so as part of my yearly check-up, he would order a chest X-ray.”

White characterizes the five days she spent at DCMH last December for her surgery as “delightful” because of the care and genuine concern she received from the entire hospital team –— from the maintenance worker who promptly fixed a glitch with her room’s door (without her having to ask), to her surgeon, Su, who was on call at 2:30 a.m. to answer a complication (which was quickly resolved) during her recovery from surgery.   

White says she prefers to live her life looking at the glass as “half full,” and she is now busy “getting back to the business of life,” as she describes it.
Su observes that she and her team find inspiration in patients like Fagan and White. “Seeing their spirit and perseverance makes us that much more determined in our resolve to beat cancer and to provide the very best care for all of our patients,” Su says.

Lung cancer is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women. It is especially prevalent here in Delaware County, which has the third highest rates of this disease in Pennsylvania.
Representing the combined strengths and expertise of the region’s leading cancer care facilities, the Fox Chase Crozer-Keystone Cancer Partnership enables Crozer-Keystone and Fox Chase Cancer Center physicians and hospitals to collaborate on a range of clinical and research initiatives, giving patients broader access to new clinical trials and programs related to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about the Thoracic Surgery program or for a physician referral, call 610-394-4744.

Learn about Crozer-Keystone's Lung Cancer Screening Program for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

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