How We Can Help
Lung Cancer Treatment Information
The treatment you receive depends on your physical condition, the degree to which your cancer has spread and your treatment preferences. Lung cancer can be a complex disease, so you will probably receive more than one kind of treatment.
Major types of treatment we offer at IU Health include:
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the main treatment for small cell lung cancer because this type of cancer responds well to chemotherapy. Physicians use chemotherapy to treat non-small cell lung cancer after surgery for early stage cancer, in combination with radiation therapy and for cancer that has spread. Although there can be side effects, most people continue a normal life while going through chemotherapy.
- Surgery. During lung surgery, your surgeon opens the chest cavity and removes the cancerous tissue from the lungs. Depending on the extent of the cancer, your surgeon may remove the entire lung.
- Radiation. Two types of radiation are commonly used to kill lung cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells:
- Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. Your radiation oncologist uses a computer-generated, three-dimensional picture to precisely expose a radiation beam to the tumor. You may need to lay in a special mold on the table to stay still during the procedure.
- Stereotactic body radiation. This method delivers a large dose of radiation to the tumor in a small amount of time. Using special images of your tumors, our radiation oncologists aim external beams of radiation at the cancer cells from different angles. The aim of the radiation is so precise that is imperative that you do not move during these radiation treatments so any damage to healthy cells is as minimal as possible.
Lung Cancer Screening & Diagnosis
Unfortunately, lung cancer often shows no symptoms before it reaches an advanced stage, which can make it more difficult to treat. Lung cancer can be detected early through low-dose computed topography imaging (CT scan). However, lung cancer screenings are not currently recommended for everyone—they are only recommended for people who have a high risk of the disease.
You should receive a lung cancer screening if you are between 55 and 74 years old, are still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years and have a 30 pack-year smoking history.
A 30 pack-year history means smoking the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years. If you smoke two packs a day for 15 years, you have a 30 pack-year history. If you smoke half a pack a day for 60 years, you have a 30 pack-year history.
Our pulmonologists can help you determine if you need a lung cancer screening. Chest CT scans can detect spots in the lungs that may be cancer, but a biopsy is usually necessary to confirm the diagnosis of lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
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Lung Cancer Support Services
The following websites host education about lung cancer that can help you work more effectively with your physician. Support services include professional counseling and online support groups.
A Sampling of Lung Cancer Support Services
American Cancer Society
This website features a thorough explanation of all aspects of lung cancer, from screenings to diagnosis to treatment.
American Lung Association
This website discusses the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
Facing Lung Cancer
This American Lung Association site includes extensive information about lung cancer and its treatment. You can also find information about support services for people with lung cancer and their families.
Free to Breathe
This advocacy organization supports research and offers information about lung cancer. It also shows you how you can take action to help fight lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Alliance
The Lung Cancer Alliance is a support and advocacy organization that provides information about lung cancer and resources to help people with cancer and their families.
National Cancer Institute
This U.S. government website is home to a wealth of information about lung cancer, treatment and research into better treatments, clinical trials and many other topics.