If you are at risk for lung cancer or experiencing symptoms, it’s natural to be concerned. This cancer type can have a poor prognosis but it’s curable when caught early. Memorial Cancer Institute is among select programs nationwide offering leading-edge early detection and state-of-the art treatment for lung cancer. And we are advancing the field through clinical trials exploring new medical therapies. These are some of the many reasons people from across South Florida turn to us.
Early Lung Cancer Detection
Our accredited lung cancer screening program checks for pulmonary nodules. Finding nodules early enables you to receive timely diagnostic testing. If a nodule turns out to be cancer, early treatment is more likely to be successful. We maintain GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer Center of Excellence designation for our commitment to quality screening services. It means you can count on us for an accurate test and interpretation. Request a lung screening appointment.
We also identify at-risk patients through our incidental pulmonary nodule program. Using artificial intelligence (AI) software, we identify patients whose previous CT scans for other medical conditions show an unexpected (incidental) spot on the lung. We then reach out to affected patients and their physicians to share findings and discuss whether additional tests are necessary.
Here’s an example of how it works:
If you come to the emergency department after a car accident, your care may include a chest CT scan to check for injuries. This scan will show your lungs in detail, so a radiologist might find a spot in your lungs. But since treating your injuries is the immediate priority, the care team might not mention the spot. Under our incidental pulmonary nodule program, the software detects this finding in your medical record, bringing it to the attention of our team.
Diagnosing Lung Cancer
There are many ways to determine if a lung nodule is cancerous. Sometimes, the appearance on a CT scan can tell us if it is not cancer. This scan combines X-rays from different angles to capture detailed images of the lungs. We may also recommend repeating the scan in a few months to see if it changes.
In most cases, we need to examine a sample of the nodule (biopsy). There are several minimally invasive ways to obtain tissue, including:
- CT-guided biopsy: Experts use real-time CT imaging to guide a needle through the skin to the lung nodule and take a sample.
- Navigational (robotic) bronchoscopy: We gently advance a thin tube (bronchoscope) into the airways. A camera at the tip enables us to assess nodules up close and take a tissue sample.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: Lung cancer specialists use a special bronchoscope with an ultrasound probe to capture images using sound waves and take a biopsy.
Lung Cancer Treatments and Support
For early-stage lung cancer, surgery may be the only treatment you need. More advanced cancers may require complex procedures and additional treatment. In some cases, removing large sections of lung tissue and reconstructing airway passages are necessary. Learn more about thoracic surgery at Memorial.
We also offer a full range of nonsurgical options. For patients who are not healthy enough for surgery, our radiation oncologists offer stereotactic radiation therapy. We deliver highly focused radiation, enabling you to complete treatments in fewer sessions. Radiation oncologists coordinate precise treatments that stop cancer cell activity. Care may include brachytherapy, which delivers high doses of radiation directly to the cancer.
Memorial also offers access to leading medical treatments, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. With advanced genetic analysis, we identify which mutations are present in tumor cells to determine whether targeted therapy is appropriate. If it is, you receive medical therapies that attack specific mutations. Find out more about medical oncology.
Supportive Therapies and Services for Lung Cancer
We offer a broad range of cancer support services to help you stay comfortable and feel your best during treatment. Our experts may recommend nutrition counseling, support groups or integrative therapies like massage. If you are using tobacco, we offer smoking cessation services to help you quit for good.
Tara's Lung Cancer Story
Lung Cancer Care: Why Choose Memorial Cancer Institute?
Trusted lung cancer specialists work together to deliver seamless, personalized care. We have been a GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer Center of Excellence for more than 10 years. Our team includes pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and other providers. You also benefit from the support of respiratory therapists and specially trained nurses. Our coordinated approach helps you achieve the best possible results.
Highlights of our program include:
- Navigational bronchoscopy: We are one of the first programs in the region using the Monarch™ Bronchoscopy Platform. Experts slide a thin tube with a camera at the tip down your throat to assess lung tissue. Unlike traditional bronchoscopy, Monarch offers computer-assisted navigation and enhanced 3D views. This technology enables us to access growths (nodules) deep in the lungs that have previously been difficult to diagnose.
- Personalized care: We tailor services to your diagnosis and medical needs. For small nodules, we may recommend monitoring instead of treatment. If the nodule continues growing, the team determines how best to treat it so that you receive timely therapies.
- Advanced treatments: Thoracic surgeons often use robotic surgery to remove cancer through small incisions. Special technology, guided by our surgeon’s skilled hands, offers greater precision than traditional methods. If you are not well enough for surgery, options include radiation oncology with stereotactic radiation therapy to shrink the tumor.
- Focused research: Our interests include many types of liquid biopsies to detect genetic material lung tumors release into the blood. Experts are using this information to enhance diagnostic methods and treatment responses. We partner with programs worldwide to offer novel medical therapies through cancer clinical trials. These efforts give you access to additional care methods only available in top programs, such as ours.
- Specialized therapies: If existing lung diseases, such as COPD, affect lung function, we can still help you. We offer uncommon expertise in segmentectomy, a surgical procedure to remove a specific area of lung tissue instead of the entire section (lobe). Respiratory therapists guide you through exercises to help you breathe better.