Lung Cancer

We provide extensive expertise and experience treating this often preventable disease

When cells in your lungs become abnormal and do not die off as part of your body’s natural process of renewal, they can reproduce and gradually form a malignant (cancerous) tumor in the lung.

In most cases, you can prevent lung cancer. If you have it, you are not alone.

The major causes of lung cancer include smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Not everyone who smokes will develop lung cancer, and not everyone diagnosed with lung cancer smokes.

What are Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Because the lungs are large, tumors can exist for a long time before you discover them. Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

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

How We Can Help

You will receive care in a comfortable, healing environment at IU Health Cancer Centers. Our social services and support groups will help you cope with the challenges of lung cancer. Physicians at IU Health use a multidisciplinary approach to your care. Your specialists, including pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons and support staff, will work together to provide the most effective treatments. They make it their goal to treat your cancer successfully while enabling you to enjoy your normal activities as much as possible.

Your physicians dedicate themselves to the prevention and early detection of lung cancer. IU Health specialists offer services, such as smoking cessation support that can help you begin to reduce your risk for cancer. At risk patients can also receive lung cancer screenings to monitor your lung health. Early detection greatly improves your treatment options.

Understanding Lung Cancer

The major causes of lung cancer include smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Not everyone who smokes will develop lung cancer, and not everyone diagnosed with lung cancer smokes.

What are Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Because the lungs are large, tumors can exist for a long time before you discover them. Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

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

How We Can Help

You will receive care in a comfortable, healing environment at IU Health Cancer Centers. Our social services and support groups will help you cope with the challenges of lung cancer. Physicians at IU Health use a multidisciplinary approach to your care. Your specialists, including pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons and support staff, will work together to provide the most effective treatments. They make it their goal to treat your cancer successfully while enabling you to enjoy your normal activities as much as possible.

Your physicians dedicate themselves to the prevention and early detection of lung cancer. IU Health specialists offer services, such as smoking cessation support that can help you begin to reduce your risk for cancer. At risk patients can also receive lung cancer screenings to monitor your lung health. Early detection greatly improves your treatment options.

Unfortunately, lung cancer often shows no symptoms before it reaches an advanced stage, which can make it more difficult to treat. However, low-dose computed topography imaging (CT scan) can detect it early. Physicians recommend that if you have a high risk for the disease, you get lung cancer screenings.

You should receive a lung cancer screening between ages 55 and 74 if you still smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years and have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (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 cancerous spots in the lungs, but a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis of 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. However, low-dose computed topography imaging (CT scan) can detect it early. Physicians recommend that if you have a high risk for the disease, you get lung cancer screenings.

You should receive a lung cancer screening between ages 55 and 74 if you still smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years and have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (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 cancerous spots in the lungs, but a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis of lung cancer.

The treatment you receive depends on your physical condition, the degree to which your cancer has spread and your treatment preferences. The complexity of lung cancer means you will probably receive more than one kind of treatment.

IU Health Cancer Centers have extensive expertise and experience treating lung cancer. IU Health physicians include you and your family in treatment decisions as a vital part of your care team.

Major types of treatment at IU Health include:

  • 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:
    • Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy
    • 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 precise aim of the radiation makes it imperative that you do not move to keep damage to healthy cells at a minimum.

Treatment

The treatment you receive depends on your physical condition, the degree to which your cancer has spread and your treatment preferences. The complexity of lung cancer means you will probably receive more than one kind of treatment.

IU Health Cancer Centers have extensive expertise and experience treating lung cancer. IU Health physicians include you and your family in treatment decisions as a vital part of your care team.

Major types of treatment at IU Health include:

  • 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:
    • Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy
    • 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 precise aim of the radiation makes it imperative that you do not move to keep damage to healthy cells at a minimum.

Related Diagnostic and Treatment Services for Lung Cancer

Patient Stories for Lung Cancer

American Cancer Society

This website features a thorough explanation of all aspects of lung cancer, from screenings to diagnosis to treatment.

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 provides support, advocacy and information about lung cancer and resources to help people with cancer and their families.

National Cancer Institute

This U.S. government website includes a wealth of information about lung cancer, treatment and research into better treatments, clinical trials and many other topics.

Resources

American Cancer Society

This website features a thorough explanation of all aspects of lung cancer, from screenings to diagnosis to treatment.

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 provides support, advocacy and information about lung cancer and resources to help people with cancer and their families.

National Cancer Institute

This U.S. government website includes a wealth of information about lung cancer, treatment and research into better treatments, clinical trials and many other topics.