Lung Cancer Patient Returns to Active Lifestyle | Loyola Medicine

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Lung-sparing Surgery Allows Loyola Lung Cancer Patient to Return to Active Lifestyle

Victor Gryniewicz

MAYWOOD, IL –  After Victor Gryniewicz was diagnosed with lung cancer, surgeons at two hospitals said his entire right lung would have to be removed.

Mr. Gryniewicz, a jogger, bicyclist and swimmer, did not want to limit his active lifestyle, so he sought a third opinion from Loyola Medicine thoracic surgeon James Lubawski, MD.

Dr. Lubawski said he could take out the entire tumor in a lung-sparing surgery that would remove only the top lobe (section) of the lung and a segment of the lower lobe, preserving 65 percent of the lung's function.

"If you have major surgery that cures you of cancer but takes away the things you enjoy doing, it doesn't feel like as much of a victory as curing the cancer and keeping your life the way it is," Dr. Lubawski said.

Having one lung is sufficient for day-to-day functions but not enough for more strenuous activities, Dr. Lubawski said.

Mr. Gryniewicz, a nonsmoker, is cancer-free, and has returned to his vigorous lifestyle that also includes roller blading, cross-country skiing and scuba diving.

"I'm back to being very athletic and I am very happy to have my entire breath back," he said.

Mr. Gryniewicz and his wife, Pam, recently celebrated their 30 anniversary with a trip to Europe. One of the highlights was going up a 7,000-foot mountain. Despite the thin air, Mr. Gryniewicz had no trouble breathing.

They emailed Dr. Lubawski a photo of themselves holding a sign that read:

Dr. Lubawski,
Vic's lungs are working fine in the Swiss Alps.
Thank you!
Vic and Pam

"I thought the photo was wonderful," Dr. Lubawski said. "It made it all worthwhile."

Loyola Medicine's lung and thoracic oncology program combines multidisciplinary care with research to fight the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Patients are offered world-class treatments with compassionate care.

About Loyola University Health System

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.