“The chest is a wonderful, mysterious place,” says Dr. Eric Presser. He would know. As a minimally invasive thoracic surgeon, he tackles virtually every issue outside of the heart. On any given day, the New York native may be removing a mass, operating on a collapsed lung, clearing up a pneumonia-related empyema infection, or treating mesothelioma.
“A lot of people come to me for my opinion, and every case and every person is different,” he says. “The focus is on knowing your options.”
That’s especially true when it comes to helping patients with lung cancer. “We’re doing things here at Desert Regional, and the results are better than the national average, and I’m very proud of the outcomes,” says Presser, who wrote the 2017 book An Empowering Guide to Lung Cancer: Six Steps to Taking Charge of Your Care and Your Life. “It starts with anesthesia, and it ends with nursing [care]. I am a minimalist, so I try to take these massive operations and turn them into less hospitalization for my patients with smaller incisions and being aggressive with different clinical scenarios that you wouldn’t find in a textbook.”
Presser may have plenty of fellowships, board certifications, and years of experience under his belt, but one of his greatest assets, he suggests, is his commitment to shepherding patients all the way through what can be an extremely frightening time. “I do this every day, and my patients do this once,” he explains. “I try to instill a confidence in my patients that they’ll see me every day. They know I’m fighting for them.”
VIDEO: Dr. Eric Presser speaks on helping patients with lung cancer.