Primary care for you and your family, close to home.
Our Specialty Teams and Treatments (STAT) Clinic helps patients with lung and esophageal cancer get answers and start treatment faster, leading to better outcomes.
When someone learns they have lung or esophageal cancer, starting treatment fast reduces stress and increases outcomes, such as survival rates over time. Wellstar’s specialists want you to have the best outcomes. That’s why we created the STAT Clinic model. Here, you have access to state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment, clinical trials and a multidisciplinary team of leading specialists who help you start treatment within 14 days—that’s half the time of the 29-day national average.
The Wellstar STAT Clinic for Lung Cancer is a national model in lung cancer diagnosis and treatment, and ranks in the top three in the country for CyberKnife volume. This means our patients have access to the most advanced technology and are cared for by physicians with a wealth of experience. In fact, Wellstar physicians have seen patients in more than 10,000 STAT Clinic visits to help them start lung cancer treatment faster.
The STAT Clinic team works closely with select local and national partners to give patients access to the latest clinical trials. And, Wellstar is the first health system in Georgia that is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Our medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons have a direct connection to Mayo Clinic and can request electronic consultations for complex cases, at no additional cost to the patient.
Without the STAT Clinic, patients and their families typically spend eight weeks visiting different specialists across town to gather information before they can move forward with a treatment plan, according to research by the Cleveland Clinic. Here, four specialists work together simultaneously to diagnose, stage and initiate treatment within 14 days with one set of imaging and tests. While our team is dedicated to helping people with lung cancer and esophageal cancer get treatment without delay, patients often comment on the unrushed manner and high level of concern experienced when they meet one-on-one with STAT Clinic specialists.
During the first seven days in the STAT Clinic, the focus is on diagnosing and staging the cancer with a variety of imaging and tests, which may include tissue sampling, a PET scan, a pulmonary function test or an MRI, for example.
The final seven days of the STAT Clinic are making a treatment recommendation and preparing to start. Four specialists review imaging and test results together. They come to a consensus about the best treatment plan in real time, during the patient’s appointment. During this second week, a patient may have port placement, additional imaging or consultations with a surgical specialist. By the end of the week, treatment begins.
Throughout a patient’s time in the STAT Clinic and the course of their treatment, patients benefit from having a nurse navigator by their side. These team leaders are registered nurses trained in specific clinical areas. They bring a highly personalized level of guidance and support to each patient and their family members, from initial diagnosis through post-treatment follow up and beyond.
Our thoracic surgeons perform minimally-invasive lung cancer surgery, including robotic-assisted surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System and Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS). The benefits of minimally-invasive surgery for lung and esophageal cancer include less pain, less scarring, less blood loss, a lower infection rate, shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time with quicker return to work and better patient satisfaction.
Wellstar's state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgery systems are equipped with high-definition, high-magnification 3D cameras, along with surgical instruments that fit into incisions as small as 8 mm. The instruments have 360 degree rotational movement, allowing for more precise and accurate surgery.
After surgery, patients also have access to programs like pulmonary rehabilitation, which help to facilitate recovery.
With modern technology, we can offer patients who are ineligible for surgery other curative options. Wellstar is the only program in Atlanta with the CyberKnife radiosurgery system, which delivers stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Painlessly and without incisions, CyberKnife delivers high-dose radiation with pinpoint precision to tumors. Wellstar Kennestone Hospital is one of the highest volume centers in the country to offer this treatment, giving our radiation oncologists a high degree of experience and leading to better patient outcomes. Unlike traditional radiation treatments, SBRT can be delivered to patients who have had radiation therapy in the past, giving hope to those who may otherwise be considered incurable.
For patients with more advanced tumors, we can use intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to match radiation to the shape of the tumor. We use 4D imaging to assess tumor movement related to breathing during treatment. Both SBRT and IMRT techniques maximize radiation treatment to cancer cells while protecting surrounding healthy cells and limiting treatment side effects.
Patients here also have access to biomarker testing, tumor analysis and genetic therapies on the forefront of innovative genetic medicine. We test every STAT Clinic patient who is a candidate for mutation analysis and PD-L1 expression, a protein that keeps the body’s immune responses under control. Patients who have these mutations or proteins can have access to truly revolutionary targeted therapy and immunotherapy, targeting their cancer and avoiding many typical treatment side effects.
Patients here are often supported by various members of our support team including an oncology registered dietitian, onco-psychology specialists and counselors, a social worker and a genetic counselor.
Because of the advanced level of care and technology offered here, Wellstar is accredited by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) and is the recipient of the organization’s outstanding Achievement Award, the highest honor awarded to a cancer program in the United States.
Additionally, Wellstar is designated as a Care Continuum Center of Excellence (CCCOE) by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. The foundation identifies community hospitals that meet rigorous qualifying criteria and demonstrate collaborative leadership across the lung cancer care continuum.
CCCOE recognizes that by meeting their criteria, Wellstar is on par with leading academic and research institutions and provides patients with access to the latest innovations not typically found in community hospitals. The CCCOE program promotes a standard of compassionate and timely care excellence with, as well as treatment options that improve survivorship.
Wellstar is one of the nation's largest and highest quality lung screening programs, allowing us to detect cancer earlier and customize the best treatment plan for each patient. That's why we are proud to have been designated as a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR). When lung cancer is detected at its early stages, the chances of defeating it are higher, and this designation highlights our commitment to providing accurate and safe diagnostic care for our patients.
For answers about the program, contact the nurse navigator at these locations:
Wellstar STAT Clinic for Lung Cancer
at Kennestone Hospital
340 Kennestone Hospital Blvd.
Marietta, GA 30060
1 (877) 366-6032
Wellstar STAT Clinic for Lung Cancer
at North Fulton Hospital
4500 Hospital Blvd
Roswell, GA 30076
Wellstar STAT Clinic for Lung Cancer
at Cobb Hospital
1700 Hospital South Drive
Austell, GA 30106
Physicians may refer or patients may self-refer.