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The Lung Cancer Program at Rio Bravo Cancer Center provides a comprehensive and integrative approach to lung cancer research, prevention, and treatment. We are here to heal our patients utilizing the most advanced diagnostic technology and tailored therapies available anywhere. We provide complete lung cancer care to help you live better and longer. Our world-class team of medical oncologists and radiation oncologists works closely with world-class thoracic surgeons, radiologists, and other specialists. Our dedication is to advance new ways of saving lives and improving health. Together, we will help develop the right treatment plan that works for you.


Our multidisciplinary cancer clinics at Rio Bravo Cancer Center combine the very best resources and specialists—all within a single location—for a highly coordinated experience that delivers exceptional care. Patients with a new lung cancer diagnosis can come to Rio Bravo Cancer Center and have multiple specialists review their pathology, radiology exams, and other tests. We will then formulate a comprehensive treatment plan that best suits you. Our program offers the most advanced technology in diagnosing and treating lung cancer, with many treatments and services not provided elsewhere in Kern County.


When you choose Rio Bravo Cancer Center, you will receive only the most comprehensive and personalized lung cancer care. Our patients have access to the most advanced chemotherapy and the most cutting-edge radiation oncology treatment systems available anywhere in the world. We provide access to top-quality treatment, nurse educators, and referrals to clinical trials when needed. We also have access to multiple outpatient programs such as; transportation, financial assistance, meditation, support groups, post-survivorship care, and nutritional programs.


Our team provides more than just high-quality treatment for lung cancer. Our team of healthcare professionals is readily available to answer questions regarding treatment side effects, medicine interactions, lung cancer prevention, and nutritional questions. Our goal is to optimize wellness during cancer treatment, promoting a healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer recurrence.

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Lung cancer is complicated to diagnose because lungs can accommodate large tumors without compromising breathing, and many people don’t experience symptoms as the tumor grows. As such, our team at Rio Bravo Cancer Center conducts a comprehensive screening to ensure we provide an accurate and safe diagnosis. Rio Bravo Cancer Center has access to state-of-the-art technology for diagnosing and staging your lung cancer. We have a comprehensive facility and dedicated staff to ensure an accurate diagnosis and thorough evaluation of your lung cancer. Our facility has access to the latest diagnostic tests, including PET/CT scans, CT scan, brain MRI, bone scan, and ultrasound. We also offer cutting-edge diagnostic testing of Lung cancer, including DNA tumor profiling and familial genetic testing to accurately identify and evaluate the type of lung cancer within your body.

Doctor reading an xray report

1. Low Dose CT Scan (Lung Cancer Screening): Early lung cancer detection means treatments with higher cure rates. If you have a heavy history of smoking cigarettes, you may be eligible for our lung cancer screening program to help with an early lung cancer diagnosis.


2. PET/CT: This is an advanced nuclear medicine test that searches the whole body for any evidence of the spread of cancer. This technique has much higher sensitivity than traditional CT imaging. The benefit is that this test can help aid in more accurate staging and monitoring of advanced cancer. This results in improved and more personalized treatment for our patients with lung cancer.


3. Brain/Spine MRI: This advanced imaging modality allows us to view the central nervous system and detect lung tumors that may have spread into the brain or spine.


4. CT-Guided Biopsies of Lung Tumors: This technique allows us to biopsy tumors with the aid of CT images. This allows our physicians to target tumors while avoiding the normal organs in the body accurately.


5. Bone Scan: This test explicitly evaluates the bones to determine if the cancer has spread to the skeletal system. Accurate staging to determine the extent of cancer within the body is crucial to optimizing treatment.


6. Thoracentesis: This procedure removes fluid in the lungs, which can help with breathing and pain, and will also aid in detecting cancer cells.


When you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, you have access to various treatments designed to shrink or eliminate the cancer altogether. Each patient’s lung cancer treatment plan will be based on factors such as overall health, cancer stage, and patient preferences. Options include one or more treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or immunotherapy.

1. Medical Oncology (Systemic Therapy): We offer the most advanced FDA-approved medical therapies for lung cancer, including immunotherapy. The medications and therapies we use provide another level of targeted and personalized treatment for lung cancer.


2. Immunotherapy: This is an advanced form of treatment that boosts the body’s immune system to fight off cancer cells. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for this progressive and effective treatment which is usually well tolerated with minimal side effects.


3. Chemotherapy: This is a medication that destroys cancer cells. It is given usually through the veins or sometimes in pill form. Chemotherapy can help shrink tumors and prevent cancers from recurring in the future.


4. Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapy): With external beam radiation, beams are directed at the lung tumor from outside the body. Before treatment, careful planning is required to determine the best dosage and pathway the radiation beams need to travel to maximize effectiveness and minimize damage to neighboring organs and tissue. Advances in the accuracy of external beam radiation have helped reduce the risk and severity of radiation side effects to the lung, heart, esophagus, and other organs.


5. Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy: This cutting-edge therapy can provide high doses of radiation to lung tumors with highly accurate targeting. Depending on the stage of your cancer, you may be eligible for this safe and effective treatment. Patients tolerate the treatment well with minimal side effects. This treatment can provide cure rates similar to surgery with as little as five daily treatments in appropriate patients.


6. Surgery: If your lung cancer has not spread outside of the local area, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is often performed in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumors to allow for easier removal. We work with only the most experienced thoracic surgeons in Kern County to provide you with the best chance for a cure.


1. Advanced Personalized Treatment (DNA Tumor Profiling): The latest research shows that not all lung cancers are the same. This means that not all lung cancers should be treated the same. Our DNA tumor profiling allows for the most personalized and tailored treatment for your lung cancer. Our advanced technology ensures that our patients achieve a cure with the most appropriate treatment while minimizing side effects.


2. Genetic Testing & Counseling: We offer genetic testing to ensure proper comprehensive treatment and to help with early detection for family members. Information is empowering, and our goal at Rio Bravo Cancer Center is to help patients understand their individual risks for lung cancer. Through the latest research, we know that those patients with increased genetic risk for cancer require more detailed evaluation.


3. Clinical Trials: Certain cases do not respond to standard therapy. Fortunately, Rio Bravo Cancer Center has close relationships with major academic institutions and world-class lung cancer surgeons specializing in benign and malignant lung conditions. We will refer you to major academic institutions for additional treatment if necessary.

Patient care


After treatment, our patients are followed closely by our cancer specialists to ensure that the cancer does not come back. We offer close surveillance evaluations after treatment and access to cancer support groups. If required, we can also provide referrals to mental health professionals trained in helping patients cope with a lung cancer diagnosis.


Quitting smoking ensures a higher chance of curing your lung cancer and decreases the chance of lung cancer recurrence. We offer smoking cessation counseling to help you live the healthiest life possible.


We know that for most lung cancer patients, being able to help themselves along their road to recovery and survivorship is essential. We are here to help our patients who want to develop a healthier lifestyle to prevent further health problems. Professional nutritional evaluation is offered to help patients during treatment and achieve overall wellness even after treatment.


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