Maine Medical Center

Thoracic Oncology | Esophageal & Lung Cancer

MaineHealth Cancer Care at MaineHealth Maine Medical Center serves the special needs of people with tumors in the chest cavity (thorax). The most commonly treated conditions are esophageal cancer and lung cancer. We provide a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment resources — with an esophageal and lung cancer patient volume that qualifies us as a national center of excellence in this type of care. 

Experienced Thoracic Cancer Specialists, Close to Home

Our multidisciplinary approach to care is focused on finding the best treatment plan for thoracic cancer patients and their families. Our team includes specialists in pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, radiology, thoracic surgery, pathology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology and palliative care. Non-physician members of the team include oncology nurse navigators, research nurses, tobacco treatment specialists, oncology dietitians, oncology social workers, and an American Cancer Society patient navigator. 

Thoracic Surgery

MaineHealth Thoracic Surgery - Scarborough works closely with MaineHealth Maine Medical Center Portland thoracic oncologists. Together, we provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for thoracic cancers. Our patients have access to the most advanced technology with the highest level of expertise. Led by Dr. Gary Hochheiser, our practice offers expert knowledge of thoracic oncology, benign thoracic surgeries, and minimally invasive techniques. When surgery is not an option, our team of specialists provides a range of alternate therapies. 

Conditions commonly treated include:

  • Esophageal Cancer and Pre-Malignant Conditions
  • Lung Cancer
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • Carcinoid tumors (a slow-growing type of tumor usually found in the gastrointestinal system, and sometimes in the lungs or other sites)
  • Mesothelioma (a tumor that may or may not be cancerous affecting the lining of the chest or abdomen)

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer often is diagnosed at a late stage of development when surgery is no longer an option. Early diagnosis and treatment, however, can significantly improve the patient’s outcome. MaineHealth digestive health experts work with cancer specialists to provide a multidisciplinary treatment plan. 

Digestive health specialists diagnose and treat patients with disorders of the esophagus. They have a surveillance program for early changes (premalignant) in the esophagus called Barrett’s esophagus, which can be caused by erosion from GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). Our team will biopsy the lesion (remove a part of it) or when warranted, will remove it completely. We then periodically check for any new lesions that may form on the esophagus. Surgery or other new techniques may be used to remove lesions. Esophagitis is another condition commonly caused by GERD but also can be caused by medications, allergies and treatments for cancer. Common forms of treatment include acid-blocking drugs and nutrition via an intravenous (IV) line, allowing the esophagus to rest. If left untreated, esophagitis can lead to Barrett’s esophagus.

Depending on the stage and other characteristics of the esophageal tumor, the treatment plan may include endoscopy, open or laparoscopic surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies. We also offer qualified patients access to clinical trials — bringing the latest advances in esophageal cancer treatment to Maine.

Lung Cancer

The accurate diagnosis and staging of lung cancer often requires consultation with several different specialists. We can often arrange all necessary consultations on the same day, in one location, which is convenient for patients. We can also expedite the process of diagnosis and staging so that treatment can begin sooner. Our goal is to ensure that our patients move from presentation of a suspected lung cancer diagnosis to treatment within 30 days.

Treatment options include medical management, surgical care, radiation oncology and interventional radiology. Thoracic surgery options include minimally-invasive video-assisted procedures and robotic surgery, a technique in which a surgeon operates a computer that remotely controls very small instruments attached to a robot.

Our clinical outcomes in the management of thoracic cancers meet or exceed national benchmarks, but our commitment to high quality state-of-the-art care does not stop there. We continually strive to improve the quality of care for our patients through ongoing review of thoracic oncology treatment data compared to national benchmarks, quality improvement measures, educational programs, and comprehensive support services.


Patient Navigators

  • Michelle Freers, BSN, RN, OCN, Thoracic Patient Navigator, 207-396-7465
  • Cassidy Calvert, RN, BSN, CMSRN, Thoracic Patient Navigator, 207-396-8255