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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is cancer that begins in the lungs. It is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are the major causes of lung cancer. Not everyone who smokes will develop lung cancer, and not everyone who is diagnosed with lung cancer smokes.

Sometimes cells in the lung become abnormal and do not die off as part of the body’s natural process of renewal. These abnormal cells reproduce, making more cells like themselves and gradually form a malignant (cancerous) tumor in the lung. Because the lungs are large, tumors can exist for a long time before they are discovered.

Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain   
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • Coughing up blood

It is important for you to know you are not alone with a lung cancer diagnosis. We have extensive experience treating this disease, and we include you and your family in treatment decisions as a vital part of your care team. You receive care in a comfortable, healing environment. Our social services and support groups help you cope with the challenges of lung cancer. Indiana University Health uses a multidisciplinary approach to lung cancer. Our specialists, including pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons and support staff work together to provide the most effective treatments. Our goal is to treat your cancer successfully while enabling you to enjoy your normal activities as much as possible.

Our physicians are dedicated to the prevention and early detection of lung cancer. We offer services, such as smoking cessation support that can help you begin to reduce your risk for cancer. If you are at risk, you can also receive lung cancer screenings to monitor your lung health. Early detection greatly improves your treatment options.

How We Can Help

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:

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. 

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.

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.