Do you suspect you have lung cancer? Or have you already been diagnosed? Take comfort in knowing that Gundersen’s lung cancer specialists are here for you and your family. Our Cancer team is ready to provide with you comprehensive care and walk with you through your cancer journey.
Gundersen Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders has state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff to provide the best outcomes for those diagnosed with lung cancer.
Each new patient with lung cancer is discussed by our multidisciplinary tumor board which is made up of a variety of specialist. For many patients treatment will require several different types of therapy in coordination with one another.
There may be few or no symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but people at risk should watch out for:
- New, worsening or persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Dull, aching or persistent pain in the chest or shoulders
- Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
- Choking or swallowing problems
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
These symptoms are also indications of less harmful conditions — the only way to be sure is to check with a doctor.
Lung cancer usually starts in the main airways of the lungs (the bronchi), but can also start in other areas of the lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Each year there are more than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer.
Lung cancers are believed to develop over a period of many years. Until recently there has been no screening tool for this disease and most cancers were diagnosed in the late stages. With the implementation of CT screening, early stage cancer diagnosis is anticipated to rise substantially.
There are different types of lung cancer involving various areas of the lung and may cause different symptoms. These types of lung cancer are treated uniquely and it is important to determine what type of lung cancer a patient may have prior to any type of treatment.
Lung cancers are typically divided into 2 types:
Non-small cell lung cancer makes up about 85-90% of lung cancers. The 3 main kinds of non-small cell lung cancer are named for the type of cells in the tumor:
- Squamous cell carcinoma often begins in the bronchi near the middle of the lungs. This cancer is often seen in people with a smoking history.
- Adenocarcinoma usually begins along the outside edges of the lungs and is the most common lung cancer in people who never smoked.
- Large cell carcinomas are a group of cancers with large, abnormal-looking cells. These tumors may begin anywhere in the lungs and tend to grow quickly.
Small cell lung cancer is sometimes called oat cell cancer because the cancer cells may look like oats when viewed under a microscope. This type of cancer grows rapidly and quickly spreads to other organs. There are two stages of small cell lung cancer:
- Limited. In this stage, cancer is generally found in just one lung. There may also be cancer in nearby lymph nodes on the same side of the chest.
- Extensive. In this stage, cancer has typically spread into the opposite lung or into other areas of the body.
Treatment of lung cancer depends on the type of cancer, the stage, the location and whether the cancer has spread. We evaluate each patient to determine which treatment is most appropriate. Treatment may include:
Many patients will have a combination of these treatment options during the course of their therapy.
We know this is a scary time. Rest assured, we are here for you and we'll provide the best treatment possible.