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Lung cancer results from growth of abnormal cells in the lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but is often responsive to treatment with early detection. The team at St. Joseph’s John and Doris Norton Thoracic Institute has been a pioneer in offering comprehensive care to patients with lung cancer, from the initial diagnosis to the final phase of treatment.
Lung cancer may originate in the lungs (primary cancer), or it may start elsewhere in the body and spread to the lungs (secondary cancer). There are two main types of lung cancer:
Lung cancer does not usually cause symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms do occur, they may include worsening cough or coughing up blood, chest pain, weight loss, weakness and fatigue, or recurring lung infections.
When it spreads to other parts of the body, lung cancer can cause symptoms that affect that part of the body. For example, if the cancer has spread to the brain, it can cause headaches, dizziness, balance problems, seizures and other neurological problems; in the bones, it can cause pain.
If you show signs of having lung cancer, you may need to undergo a number of exams and tests. Such tests may include:
If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, your doctor will need to determine the type and stage of the cancer to plan the best treatment for you. The lung cancer program at Norton Thoracic Institute offers not only diagnostic and interventional services, but also provides first-rate supportive care as you and your loved ones actively participate in decisions regarding your treatment.
Your doctor will work with other cancer specialists to design the best treatment course for your particular cancer. Patients with small cell lung cancer usually undergo radiation therapy and chemotherapy. People with NSCLC are often treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
One type of minimally invasive surgery available at Norton Thoracic Institute is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, or VATS. VATS is appropriate for patients with Stage I, II or early Stage III NSCLC. In a VATS procedure, the surgeon uses a small video camera to magnify the cancer tissue. Using the video feed for guidance, the surgeon is able to remove the tumor and cancer cells.
If you are at risk of lung cancer, you should talk to your doctor about getting a lung cancer screening. Your chance of surviving lung cancer is highest when the disease is discovered in its earliest stages, before it has spread.
For more information or to find a lung cancer specialist, please call 602.406.4000.