Cancer makes cells in the body grow uncontrollably. When the disease starts in the lungs, it is called lung cancer. Patients with lung cancer may not have symptoms that lead them to the doctor’s office. Instead, the disease is often found during routine screening or tests for other diseases in the chest.
Lung cancer is a complex disease with several types and stages. You need comprehensive treatment from a team of specialists, including pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons and more.
Lung Cancer: Why Choose Memorial Healthcare System?
Patients seeking treatment for lung cancer at Memorial Healthcare System will find:
- Experienced physicians: Our care team includes highly skilled, board-certified pulmonologists. They have decades of experience diagnosing lung cancer and following up with patients to manage the side effects of treatment.
- Advanced diagnostic tools on-site: We have sophisticated technology in our office to take images of your lungs and test tissue for cancer. That means all your appointments and tests are in one convenient location.
- A network of specialists: As part of a large healthcare system, our team has access to many other specialists. We consult with oncologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons and others in our network so that our patients receive seamless, comprehensive care.
- A compassionate and reassuring approach to care: Our physicians take time to talk with you and your family about your diagnosis. We will answer all of your questions during this stressful time and help you manage any anxiety. We also welcome your input in decisions about your treatment.
What Is a Cancerous Lung Tumor?
Cancer causes cells to grow out of control. When cancer begins in the lungs, it creates a lung mass or lung tumor.
Lung cancer is divided into two types — small cell or non-small cell. Lung cancer is also “staged,” according to how advanced or widespread it is (called the stage of disease). The specific type and stage of lung cancer will determine the treatment.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
In the early stages of lung cancer, most people don’t have any signs or symptoms. Once the disease advances, the symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- Cough that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in chest, back or shoulders when coughing/deep breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Recurring lung infections (e.g., pneumonia, bronchitis)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the chest area
- Unexplained weight loss
- Wheezing or hoarseness
While these symptoms may be signs of lung cancer, it is important to discuss them with your doctor because they may be related to other health problems.
Diagnosing Lung Cancer
Our pulmonologists may partner with other specialists in our network to test suspicious tissue for cancer. They may use any of these tests to confirm a lung cancer diagnosis:
- X-rays and CT Scans: Detailed images of your chest pinpoint the tumor’s location.
- PET Scans: This test uses a special dye to take images of your lungs, which will help your care team stage the disease.
- CT-Guided Biopsy: In this outpatient procedure, a thoracic surgeon uses imaging technology to guide a needle directly into the tumor. There, they remove a bit of tissue for testing.
- Resection: During this outpatient procedure, a thoracic surgeon removes some or all of the cancerous tissue for cancer testing.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Memorial Cancer Institute is one of the largest cancer centers in Florida, providing world-class treatment to thousands of patients every year. We offer advanced cancer care, groundbreaking research and personalized navigation through the treatment journey.
The institute offers a full range of treatment options:
- Surgery: Your team may recommend surgery to remove cancer tissue. Memorial Cancer Institute is accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
- Chemotherapy: Chemo drugs are pills or intravenous medicines that kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Our cancer center conducts clinical trials, which gives you access to some of the newest chemotherapy treatments available.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy rays also can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Memorial Cancer Institute radiation oncologists are board-certified and fellowship-trained. They use the most advanced treatment technology, including CyberKnife®, which uses robotics for more precise treatments with fewer side effects.
- Immunotherapy: Also called biologic therapy, these treatments can activate the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
How Treatment Affects Breathing
Some cancer treatments may cause side effects that impact your breathing. This is called dyspnea. Your pulmonologist will continue to follow you throughout your cancer journey and help manage these side effects.
To make an appointment, call 954-276-1925.