Lung Cancer Center - Treatments & Services

How is lung cancer diagnosed?
How serious is it?
How is lung cancer treated?

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

If there is any reason to suspect lung cancer, the doctor will first take a medical history and conduct a physical exam. The doctor may also order a chest X-ray or CT Scan.

To confirm the presence of lung cancer, the doctor may examine tissue from the lung. A biopsy - the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope - can show whether a person has cancer.

If the diagnosis is cancer, the doctor will conduct additional tests to determine what "stage" the disease is in (how far the cancer has grown or spread).

How serious is it?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Nearly 75 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer die within two years of their diagnosis. In those cases when the cancer is still in the early stage when first diagnosed, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is approximately 50 percent. Despite the very serious prognosis of lung cancer, however, people do survive. There are currently about 330,000 long-term survivors.

How is lung cancer treated?

Lung cancer treatment options at the Temple's lung cancer center include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These treatments are either used alone or in combination, depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

Surgery involves an operation to remove the cancer. Depending on the type, stage and location of the cancer, surgery may be used to remove the tumor and some of the lung tissue around it. Some tumors are inoperable (cannot be removed by surgery) because of their size or location. Some patients cannot have surgery for other medical reasons.

Lung cancer centers use chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Even if a tumor is removed from the lung, cancer cells may still be present in nearby tissue or elsewhere in the body. Most chemotherapy drugs are either injected or administered as a pill, allowing them to enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. This makes the treatment useful for cancers that have spread to distant organs. Chemotherapy may be used to control cancer growth or to relieve symptoms.

Radiation therapy uses highly targeted radiation beams to shrink or kill cancer cells or to relieve certain symptoms. Radiation therapy is directed at a small area and designed to affect only the cancer cells in that area. It may be used before surgery to shrink a tumor, or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the treated area. Doctors may use radiation therapy, often combined with chemotherapy, as the primary treatment for lung cancer instead of surgery.

Clinical trials of new treatment methods can also provide important treatment options for lung cancer patients at our lung cancer center.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple Lung Center physician click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

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