The Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program
Breakthroughs in lung cancer are being made everyday. The progress over the last decade has been tremendous. Treatments that were once considered impossible are now saving lives.
CentraState’s lung cancer experts are keeping pace with this progress. They provide the most advanced lung cancer treatment options along with the ongoing care and support you need to stay strong—body, mind and spirit.
Symptoms & Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Lung cancer doesn’t always show signs or symptoms in the early stages. If lung cancer symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Shortness of breath
- A cough that doesn’t go away or a change in a chronic cough
- Coughing up blood, even a small amount
- Chest pain or wheezing
- Joint pain
- Weight loss
Lung Cancer Risk Factors
Increased risk for lung cancer has been linked to:
Family history—A family history of lung cancer may increase your lung cancer risks.
Tobacco use—Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, pipes or cigars) as well as chewing tobacco is linked to over four out of five cases of all lung cancers. Heavy smokers and those who began smoking at a young age are at an increased risk of developing the disease. It is possible to significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer if you stop smoking.
Second-hand smoke—Even if you don’t smoke, you may be at an increased risk for developing lung cancer if you are exposed to tobacco smoke.
Radon gas—A naturally occurring odorless gas, high levels of radon may be found in some houses or buildings. The EPA considers exposure to radon gas as the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Kits are available to test for radon in your home or office.
Asbestos—Long-term exposure to asbestos is linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Miners, mill workers or people who may have breathed in asbestos fibers are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer.
Industrial or workplace exposures—Inhaling chemicals or minerals, such as asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot or tar may overtime increase a person’s lung cancer risks. Workers in certain manufacturing or mining industries may have an increased exposure to these chemicals. Diesel exhaust and air pollution may also be harmful.
Lung Cancer Screenings
Lung cancer is the #1 leading cause of cancer-related death in America. The good news is that a screening is available that detects cancer early, when it is more likely to be treated before it spreads, dramatically improving lung cancer survival rates.
The Comprehensive Lung Care Program at CentraState Medical Center offers low-dose CT screenings for those individuals considered at high risk for developing lung cancer.
Participants should be screened annually and must meet all of the criteria to qualify for insurance* coverage. If you don’t meet all of the requirements below, but think you may be at risk, low-cost, self-pay options are available. Contact us at 732-637-6365 for details.
- Be a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years.
- Must be asymptomatic (no symptoms of lung cancer). If you are experiencing symptoms, please see your primary care doctor or call 866-236-8727 for a referral.
- Have smoked a minimum of 30 “pack years,” which is the equivalent of 1 pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.
- Be age 55-80* (50-77 for Medicare patients).
- Have a prescription for a low-dose CT scan for lung screening, which can be provided by our team or your physician.
CT scans have an advantage over chest X-rays for lung cancer screening because they can detect cancer at its earliest stages, including tumors that are as small as 1 centimeter. Early detection of lung cancer can increase the five-year survival rate by 20 percent.
Request a lung cancer screening today to find out if you’re at risk. Please call 732-637-6365 for more information. Need help to quit smoking? Call 732-308-0570 or register for an upcoming smoking cessation class.
*Please contact your insurance company for age eligibility and coverage.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options
Your oncologist and other specialists will review and analyze all of your lab and radiology reports. Next, they will go over their findings with you and discuss treatment options.
Lung Cancer Surgery
Surgery to remove all or part of a lung might be performed by making an incision on one side of your chest (thorax) during a procedure called a thoracotomy. After the incision is made between the ribs, all or part of the lung is removed depending on the location, size, and type of lung cancer that is present.
An Alternative to Thoracotomy: Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (or thoracoscopic surgery)
Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) is performed using a small video camera attached to a thoracoscope, which is introduced into the patient’s chest through one of four small incisions. The video camera then transmits magnified images of the chest cavity onto strategically positioned monitors in the operating room—providing the surgeons with an unparalleled view inside the entire chest. The images are of the same quality as high definition television. Concurrently, the three remaining incisions serve as entry ports for the surgical instruments necessary to carry out the procedure.
Two of our thoracic surgeons helped to pioneer this minimally invasive surgery.
Together they have successfully performed over 7,500 of these procedures.
Benefits of VATS:
- Just four one-inch incisions (a traditional thoracotomy requires an incision of
10-14 inches as well as unavoidable injury to one or more ribs and damage to muscles)
- A one to two day hospital stay (patients of typical thoracotomy require stays of
- A marked reduction in recovery time as compared to the traditional thoracotomy
- A significantly reduced complication rate due to minimal invasion (less than five percent of VATS patients experience post-surgery complications compared to 30 percent of thoracotomy patients)
Simply put, VATS minimizes surgical and health risks—allowing a speedier recovery with less scarring, less pain, and less complications.
Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer
Radiation therapeutic approaches for lung cancer:
External beam radiotherapy (EBR)
Uses a special machine (linear accelerator) to deliver high doses of radiation to the site while limiting exposure to healthy tissues and organs and minimizing side effects.
- 3-D conformal radiotherapy
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
- Stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SART)
Radiation therapy is administered at CentraState’s Karen Olbis Radiation Oncology Center.
Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer
Depending on the stage of the lung cancer, chemotherapy may be used in different situations:
Before surgery (sometimes along with radiation therapy) to try and shrink a tumor. This is know as neoadjuvant therapy.
After surgery (sometimes along with radiation therapy) to try and kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind. This is known as adjuvant therapy.
As the main treatment (sometimes along with radiation therapy) for more advanced cancers or for some people who aren’t healthy enough for surgery.
Chemotherapy is provided at the Jean Mehr Infusion Therapy Center offered through CentraState Medical Center’s Pharmacy Department and administered by Magnet-designated nurses credentialed in chemotherapy and certified in cancer care.
Clinical Trials for Lung Cancer
Some patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials for lung cancer in which they receive an emerging lung cancer treatment before it becomes publicly available. Talk to your oncologist or surgeon to learn more. You may also want to speak with your cancer navigator.