Lung Cancer Program

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. The lungs are located in the chest. When you breathe, air goes through your nose, down your windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs, where it spreads through tubes called bronchi. Most lung cancer begins in the cells that line these tubes. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer makes up about 20% of all lung cancer cases. There are two main type: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.

Why is lung cancer so serious?

Lung cancer is hard to detect in its early stages. Symptoms usually don’t appear until the disease is advanced and, in many cases, it’s found only when the person undergoes an X-ray for another reason.

Symptoms

  • A persistent or intense cough
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm tinged with blood
  • Harsh sounds accompanying breathing
  • Recurrent lung problems such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Shortness of breath

Though smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, it is not the only one. Approximately 13 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by other culprits.

Non-smoking Risk Factors

  • Radon – The second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., radon is a colorless and odorless gas that occurs naturally in soil. It can seep up into a home, office building or school through gaps or cracks in floors or walls.
  • Industrial exposures – Working with certain hazardous materials, such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products is especially dangerous.
  • Arsenic – High levels of arsenic, a poison used to kill weeds and pests, in drinking water may increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Air pollution – In some cities, air pollution (air with traces of diesel exhaust, coal products and other industrial substances) may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Family history – A family history of lung cancer may indicate a higher risk of developing the disease.

Diagnoses - early detection is key

It’s important to maintain annual check-ups to stay healthy. Discuss any symptoms or health changes with your doctor and follow up on your doctor’s recommendations for screening and treatments to ensure you stay cancer free.

Imaging options including X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, as well as the less-invasive Positron Emission Tomography (PET)−which can be used to detect sites of cancer not seen by many other imaging modalities and is especially useful in the evaluation of lung cancer.

Treatment

Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type and stage of lung cancer. Options typically include one or more treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or targeted drug therapy. Talk with your doctor to choose a cancer treatment plan based on a number of factors, such as your overall health, the type and stage of your cancer, and your preferences.

Northside's Pulmonary and Therapeutic Endoscopy Lab offers diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of lung conditions. Northside's team of pulmonologists (physicians specializing in pulmonary conditions), pulmonary therapeutic specialists and endoscopy nurses are ready to collaborate with you and other related health care specialists, including anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, and radiologists, to develop an individualized plan of care. 

Support

Thoracic Nurse Navigator - Lung cancer patients at Northside have a nurse specially trained to assist them from diagnosis through treatment. The nurse navigator works with radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, oncologist and other specialists to coordinate the patient's treatment plan, in addition to:

  • Helping understand specific diagnosis and treatment plans
  • Having educational materials available to patients and their family
  • Answering questions through a patient's journey
  • Scheduling appointments as needed
  • Ensuring that a patient's case has a team-based approach
  • Providing support for a patient's physical, spiritual and emotional care

For more information, contact (404) 300-2800 or nurse.navigator@northside.com.

Network of Hope - When facing cancer, patients need a special kind of support -- support that can only come from someone who knows what they are going through, someone who has been through it themselves. The Network of Hope connects patients with survivors who have faced cancer and embraced life afterward.

Cancer Support Community – This national nonprofit organization provides support, informative education programs, a variety of gentle stress reduction and exercise classes and fun social activities for cancer patients and their families – all in a home-like environment. All classes are offered free of charge and are led by seasoned professionals committed to supporting individuals and families in our community facing cancer.  For a complete list of classes visit www.cscatlanta.org or call (404) 843-1880.

For additional information on support and survivorship, please click here.

Committed to Healthy Lungs

Early detection is key. Northside offers several programs to help prevent lung cancer. In addition, it’s important to maintain annual check-ups to stay healthy. Discuss any symptoms or health changes with your doctor and follow up on your doctor’s recommendations for screening and treatments.

Lung Cancer Screening
Northside recognizes how prevention and screening are vital to good lung health. The lung cancer screening program offers high-risk patients the opportunity to participate in annual CT screenings. A low-dose CT scan can help detect lung cancer even before signs or symptoms are noticed.

Smoking Cessation Program
Northside offers a Smoking Cessation Program to help individuals quit smoking.  For more information, contact (404) 780-7653.

Smoking Cessation Program
Phone: (404) 780-7653

Lung Screening Program
Phone: (404) 300-2235


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