Thoracic Cancers

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute’s Thoracic Diseases Program cares for diseases of the chest - lungs, esophagus and thymus - including lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women.

Other thoracic cancers include slow-growing carcinoid tumors in the lungs, thymic malignancies and tracheal tumors.

Our team includes pulmonologists, thoracic-surgeon leaders in minimally invasive technology, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our approach to care includes navigating you to the right oncologist faster, using the latest technologies to detect even the smallest tumors and drawing on resources from the entire system.

That’s how we have become a major referral center in Connecticut for patients with lung cancer and other chest tumors.

More answers, insight and treatment options are available through our membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Alliance. You get the most advanced cancer treatment available anywhere, while staying close to home.


Connect with a Nurse Navigator

Call 855.255.6181 or request a callback for support, advice, or a second opinion.

Meet Our Team


Lung Cancer

The two main types of lung cancer are small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Most are related to tobacco use, making quitting critical for any patient being treated for lung cancer. 

Smokers can get two different types of NSCLC called adenocarcinoma and squamous cell. Nonsmokers are more likely to get adenocarcinoma.

At the Cancer Institute, we use new low-dose CT scan screening to diagnose lung cancer earlier. We help providers qualify patients for screenings: Eligible patients must have a one-pack-a-day or more smoking history for 20 years, be between 50 and 80, generally healthy and have no lung-cancer symptoms.

Through our MSK affiliation, we also offer some lung cancer patients immunotherapy, which uses medication to stimulate the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells more effectively.


Esophageal Cancer

Smoking is also a leading cause of esophageal cancer. Smokers have a 500 percent greater chance of developing cancer in the esophagus, a muscular tube in the digestive tract that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.

Combining tobacco and alcohol makes the risk even greater. The Cancer Institute offers many resources to help with smoking cessation

The Cancer Institute team, focused on early detection and prompt treatment of esophageal cancer, also champions use of the best available technology. In 2018, for example, Dr. Stefan Kachala became the first thoracic surgeon in Connecticut to perform a robotic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. The robotic approach allows the surgeon to operate through small incisions instead of large abdominal and chest incisions. The result is less pain, less blood loss and a faster recovery.


Thymus Cancer

Tumors on the thymus, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, are extremely rare, with only about 400 cases a year in the United States.

The thymus, made predominantly of lymphatic tissue, helps produce the immune system’s T cells that attack specific foreign particles. The gland’s tissue slowly degenerates in puberty.

People with thymus cancer generally have the gland removed, or undergo radiation and chemotherapy.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

We offer the latest treatments through our ongoing membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Alliance, which gives you access to the latest standards of care and clinical trials.

The MSK Alliance

News

October 15, 2021

How She Endured Cancer in Breast, Ovaries, Lung and Brain

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July 15, 2020

New Endoscopic Robot With Xbox-Type Controller Can Help Detect Lung Cancer Earlier

The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain is now using a new endoscopic technology known as the Monarch Platform, [...]

March 05, 2020

Trying to Quit Smoking? Here’s Some Help

Editor’s note: Initial studies have shown that if you smoke and get COVID-19, you’re 14 times more likely than nonsmokers [...]

July 18, 2019

How Physical Rehab Can Help Recovery From Lung Cancer      

By Ruth H. Satterberg Occupational Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist Hospital of Central CT Cancer Institute A lung cancer diagnosis can be [...]

July 18, 2019

The Long-Term Effects of Lung Cancer Therapy on Your Body

Treatment of lung cancer has developed rapidly in the past 10 years. With earlier detection and improved therapies, patient outcomes [...]

March 20, 2019

Lung Cancer: How a Lobectomy Works

You may recall Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently underwent a lobectomy – a type of surgery to remove [...]

Support at the Cancer Institute

The Cancer Institute offers whatever you and your family need on your journey, whether it’s access to an oncology social worker, a nurse navigator to coordinate your care or the support of our Patient and Family Resource Center.

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute