Lung Cancer

If you’ve received a lung cancer diagnosis, chances are you’re scared, worried and confused. That’s normal. But INTEGRIS Health is here to walk every step by your side.

INTEGRIS Cancer Institute

We can beat it. Together.

We’re With You

If you’ve received a lung cancer diagnosis, chances are you’re scared, worried and confused. That’s normal. But remember, INTEGRIS Health is here to walk every step by your side and fight your cancer with you. That’s why we bring together the region’s foremost team of specialists with the most advanced and successful treatments available.

All the Best Minds Under One Roof

There was a time when cancer treatment meant dozens of appointments at different facilities with multiple specialists. But at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute, we put you – the patient – first. That means doing everything we can to streamline the process and get you into life-saving treatment as soon as possible. We do that by gathering physicians and specialists together in our Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinics to decide the best course of treatment for you. That means the time you have to spend between diagnosis and treatment is dramatically reduced.

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Understanding Lung Cancer

Symptoms of lung cancer usually don’t present until the cancerous tumor has begun to grow. Although symptoms are experienced differently by each person, a number of symptoms are common. These symptoms may not be sure signs of lung cancer and could be signs of other medical concerns, so be sure to visit with your doctor:

  • A persistent cough
  • Constant chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Repeated lung infections
  • Coughing up bloody mucus
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling in the face or neck
  • Shoulder or bone pain
  • Pain or weakness in the shoulder, arm, hand or face
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

If your doctor thinks you might have lung cancer, exams and tests will be required to reach an accurate diagnosis. This begins with your physician asking questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease, and may continue with more in-depth tests:

  • Sputum Cytology Test: Each morning for 3 to 5 days, you collect the substance (sputum) that you spit up from your lungs to be tested for cancer cells.
  • Chest X-Ray: A test to look for masses in your lungs.
  • Further Imaging: Your physician may arrange for other imaging tests to get a better picture of your lungs. This may include a CT scan and also perhaps an MRI test.
  • Biopsy: A sample of abnormal findings such as a mass or fluid. This may be done via bronchoscopy, needle biopsy, thoracentesis, thoracotomy or thoracoscopy.
  • Bronchoscopy: To get the cells for this type of biopsy, the doctor uses a bronchoscope (a long, thin, lighted tube equipped with a small video camera) inserted through your mouth or nose and into the lungs. This allows the doctor to see inside your lungs to collect a biopsy.
  • Needle Biopsy: If your tumor can’t be reached easily by a bronchoscope, the doctor puts a thin, hollow needle through your chest and into the tumor to remove some tissue. Often you will have an X-ray or CT scan at the same time to aid in visualization.
  • Thoracentesis: If you have fluid around your lungs, the doctor can insert a hollow needle into the skin between your ribs to collect the fluid to be tested for cancer cells. This can also be done to drain fluid if it is making you short of breath.
  • Thoracotomy: A surgeon opens up your chest to look for lung cancer. This is usually done when the doctor can’t make the diagnosis by any of the other methods. If possible, the surgeon also removes the entire tumor during a thoracotomy.
  • Thoracoscopy: A less invasive surgery using a few small cuts in the chest wall and a long, thin instrument with a small video camera on the end. The surgeon also puts special instruments through the other cuts to sample any abnormal areas.

Your treatment program will be unique to you and your needs. Upon diagnosis, a plan is mapped out, taking into consideration your age, overall health and health history, how much the cancer has advanced, predicted course of the disease, tolerance for available procedures and medications, as well as your preferences and opinions.

In early-stage cases, treatment may include surgery. Depending on the size and location of the tumors, all or part of one lung could be removed, as well as a portion of the bronchus. Early and later-stage cancers may be treated with:

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumors. This includes internal and external radiation.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells by interfering with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce, though some groups of drugs work differently.
  • Targeted Therapies: Newer medications called targeted therapies may be used alone or in concert with chemotherapy. Some of these target proteins that are found more often on cancer cells than on normal cells. These medications have different (and often milder) side effects than standard chemotherapy medications and help people live longer.
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

At INTEGRIS, we offer a wide variety of support programs and services along with the Troy and Dollie Smith Wellness Center to help patients with breast cancer and their loved ones manage the physical and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Support services for lung cancer include:

  • Mind, body therapies including acupuncture, massage, and yoga
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Pastoral care, spiritual support and relaxation techniques
  • Resource Room
  • Clinical social work services
  • Counseling
  • Patient navigation and survivor care planning
  • Multi-disciplinary clinic coordination
  • Cancer screenings
  • Patient and family support groups
  • Integrative Medicine Clinic

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