As director of thoracic oncology and interventional pulmonology at UConn Health, Dr. Omar Ibrahim has been working hard to personalize and improve the experience of lung cancer patients.
“As a result of enhancing individualized care, the number of lung cancer patients UConn Health cares for has been rapidly increasing,” says Ibrahim. “We have immensely improved a patient’s time to diagnosis and treatment, as well as the overall quality of care they receive. Plus, our program’s advanced diagnostic imaging and rapid-sequence genetic testing has allowed us to get patients proper therapy in the most effective way possible.”
According to Ibrahim, UConn Health is one of a few institutions in the Northeast to consolidate how they care for lung cancer patients.
“Rather than having patients visit multiple physicians in different locations on our campus, we focus all our care for lung cancer patients in one multidisciplinary clinic,” says Ibrahim, who led the specialized clinic’s development. “This allows for ease of care and greater patient satisfaction and increases the patient’s knowledge.”
We have immensely improved a patient’s time to diagnosis and treatment, as well as the overall quality of care they receive.
The biggest risk factor for lung cancer, which kills more Americans than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined, is smoking. Ibrahim passionately urges current and former heavy smokers to get screened for the disease with a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan at UConn Health’s Lung Cancer Screening Program at the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Our goal is to find lung cancer at its earliest stage so we can have options to treat it and cure it,” Ibrahim says.
If a low-dose CT scan catches a suspicious lung nodule or growth, Ibrahim leverages minimally invasive techniques to rule out lung cancer, or diagnose and identify what stage the disease is at. He uses video-guided 3-D navigational bronchoscopy technology and ultrasound in the exam room to closely examine a patient’s lung tissue using a thin, flexible tube via the nose or mouth. The technology also allows for small lung tissue biopsy samples to be taken.
But Ibrahim is not only proud of improving his patient’s experience and outcomes.
“What I am truly proud of is the team effort of everyone involved with a lung cancer patient’s care, from the staffer greeting them at the door to the nurse infusing their chemotherapy. They all are doing an immense job.”