Comprehensive Lung Cancer Care at UH Seidman Cancer Center

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center is at the forefront of lung cancer treatment, screening and prevention. As part of the National Cancer Institute-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, we provide our patients with the expert care they need.

Our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained cancer specialists and extensive support staff provide comprehensive care to help patients with all types and at all stages of lung cancer. Our team treats even the most complex lung cancers, with an individualized approach, to improve both overall lung health and quality of life.

Advanced Diagnostic Techniques for Lung Function and Biopsy

If you have lung cancer symptoms, our specialists will perform a thorough examination including a medical history to understand your overall health and lifestyle habits. In addition, we may conduct one or several of the following diagnostic tests to learn more about your specific condition:

  • Bronchoscopy: In a navigation bronchoscopy, we use GPS technology to navigate a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera through your mouth or nose and down to the lungs.
  • Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS): An EBUS is a guided biopsy that is designed to check for lung cancer and determine whether it has spread to your lymph nodes.
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA): An FNA involves placing a tiny needle into the tumor and using suction to remove a small amount of tissue which can be evaluated under a microscope.
  • Sputum cytology: In a sputum cytology, a sample of your mucus will be investigated under a microscope.
  • Thoracentesis: Thoracentesis is when a needle is used to draw fluid from around your lungs so that it could be looked at under a microscope.
  • Chest x-rays: Chest x-rays take photographs of your lungs to search for abnormal areas.

In addition, for patients at high risk for lung cancer, our team provides low dose computed tomography (CT) screenings to determine the incidence of lung nodules or growths in the lung. Guidelines for this advanced screening test include:

  • Adults 55-77 years of age
  • Asymptomatic, or don’t have signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Either a current smoker or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” which means an average of one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years
  • An order from their doctor
  • Individuals must have a conversation with their physician about the benefits and risks of the test

Not all of these growths are cancerous and the majority of patients having a lose dose CT screening will not have lung cancer. But with this screening, our team can identify abnormalities or other pulmonary issues sooner for improved outcomes. With treatment or long-term follow up care by our team of pulmonologists, we can watch for any signs of more serious lung issues, including lung cancer.

Individualized Lung Cancer Treatments to Preserve Lung Function

Our cancer specialists review your symptoms and lung function to determine what type and stage of lung cancer you have to develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific condition and meet your personal goals.

We consider each patients’ type of your lung cancer and stage as well as other health issues such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, potential side effects of radiation or chemotherapy for lung cancer and general health. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or in a pill form, taken by mouth. It is the most often recommended treatment for small cell lung cancer or lung cancer that has spread.
  • Proton therapy: Proton therapy delivers high doses of radiation directly into the tumor. This advanced form of radiation targets only the cancer and doesn’t affect the surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs.
  • Radiation therapy: We use innovative radiation therapy techniques such as brachytherapy, 3D conformal radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy to precisely target the tumor.

Surgical Expertise in Minimally Invasive Procedures

If surgery is necessary, our skilled thoracic surgeons have advanced training in minimally invasive techniques. Our team is able to use this less invasive approach in the majority of our surgeries for less pain, faster recovery and improved outcomes.

We offer a range of surgical procedures for optimal treatment of lung cancer, including:

  • Lobectomy - removing the lobe of the lung containing the tumor
  • Pneumonectomy - removing the entire lung
  • Segmentectomy - removing a segment of the lobe of the lung containing the tumor
  • Sleeve resection – removing a section of the trachea or bronchial tubes
  • Wedge resection - removing a triangle shaped piece of the lung around and including the tumor

Lung Cancer Specific Clinical Trials

UH Seidman Cancer Center offers a variety of clinical trials for patients with lung cancer. These clinical trials can give you access to cutting-edge treatments that can make a positive difference in your condition. Some of these clinical trials include:

  • Lung cancer breakthrough discovery to predict patient response to targeted therapy.
  • Study of the safest dose, side effects and timing of a cancer drug for non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Study of a cancer drug and a chemo drug in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

Understanding Lung Cancer Types and Symptoms

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 220,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells in one or both lungs grow, rapidly multiply and turn into tumors that impair the function of the lungs and may eventually spread to other parts of the body.

Lung cancers are separated into two main groups.

  • Non-small cell lung cancer: The most common type of lung cancer is called non-small cell lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma are all subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Small cell lung cancer: Small cell lung cancer is usually caused by smoking. It begins in the bronchi and spreads quickly to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

While there are types of lung cancer that can be caused by a variety of factors, in most cases, lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking.

Lung cancer symptoms can present in many ways including:

  • Cough that persists and worsens over time
  • Appetite loss
  • Constant chest pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing

Expert Care for Lung Cancer, Close to Home

To be certain that every patient’s personal needs are met, our multidisciplinary team thoroughly evaluates each patient’s case and collaborates to guide all lung cancer care decisions. Our team of specialists includes:

  • Oncologists
  • Surgical oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Medical geneticists
  • Genetic counselors
  • Nurse navigators
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Social workers

Our team is located at UH Seidman Cancer Centers at both the main hospital campuses as well as many locations across northeast Ohio. We provide our patients access to clinical trials, care teams and ongoing treatments closer to home.

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