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Lung Cancer Care

If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, you probably have questions about your condition. PeaceHealth is here to help, with compassionate care close to home. We provide advanced care for lung cancer, plus many other services to support you and your family. Treatment has come a long way in recent years, and that’s good news. Here’s what you need to know about lung cancer care at PeaceHealth.

Caring for you, not just your cancer

PeaceHealth cancer care is fully integrated. This means your PeaceHealth specialists work with each other and a full range of other caregivers to fight your cancer. They’re all part of one team, with one goal: Giving you the best possible care from diagnosis through staging and treatment.  

Your care team may include:

  • Lung and chest specialists (pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons)
  • Cancer doctors (oncologists) who specialize in chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy
  • Nurses, cancer social workers and other providers depending on your needs 

As you move through treatment, they will communicate regularly with each other, and with you, so you always know what to expect. 

What does my lung cancer diagnosis mean? 

A diagnosis of lung cancer means that cancer cells have been found in your lungs. It happens when some of the cells in your lungs grow in an unusual way and form a tumor. It’s a serious condition, but also common. In fact, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the world. It’s most treatable when it’s found early.

If your doctor suspects lung cancer, they will do diagnostic tests to confirm it. For example, in the course of other treatment, your provider might notice a group of cells called a lung nodule. It's common to find one or more nodules on an imaging test such as a chest X-ray or CT scan done for pneumonia or other conditions. Most of the time these nodules are not cancerous (benign). But you and your doctor might decide to get follow-up scans to be sure.

After diagnosis, the next step is to learn more about your particular cancer so we can create a treatment plan that’s right for you. 

You and your doctor might decide to do more tests, scans or a biopsy (sample) to get more information. They might recommend a procedure called bronchoscopy. It lets your doctor look closely at your lungs and lymph nodes, do a biopsy, or in some cases remove cancerous growths. This can also be done through procedures that use technology called interventional radiology. 

Imaging tests and procedures can help your care team learn more about your cancer type, its stage (severity), and whether it has spread to your lymph nodes or other parts of your body.

What’s included in a lung cancer treatment plan?

Just like no two people are the same, no two lung cancers are the same. Once we know more about your cancer, we can make a plan for your care. 

Your plan will include treatment recommendations and a timeline for you. To create your plan, you and your PeaceHealth care team will consider:

  • Lung cancer type (There are different kinds of lung cancer.)
  • Lung cancer stage (How much has the cancer grown and spread?) 
  • Location (Where is the tumor? Is there more than one?)
  • General health (How are you feeling? What kind of treatment can you tolerate?)
  • Personal and family preferences (What are your beliefs and needs?)

Most plans include more than one kind of treatment. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common lung cancer treatments. Some plans include all three. 

What to expect at PeaceHealth

As you begin treatment, our medical expertise and advanced technologies focus on stopping the cancer. At the same time, we never forget about the person at the center of it all: you. 

  • Surgery: Lung cancer is often treated with surgery. PeaceHealth has skilled chest and lung surgeons. They use advanced tools to treat many types of lung cancer quickly and effectively. Newer technology allows for less invasive biopsies and surgeries, which can lead to better diagnoses and faster recoveries.  
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment uses powerful medicines to damage cancer cells, shrink tumors and slow cancer’s growth. We have hundreds of chemo medications to choose from, depending on your needs.
  • Radiation therapy: PeaceHealth radiation centers use advanced technology like intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery to effectively target cancer cells and avoid healthy cells. This can mean fewer treatments and less recovery time.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts your body’s natural defenses against cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Your PeaceHealth provider will let you know if there’s a clinical trial or research study that’s right for you. If there is, you may be able to access newer treatments for lung cancer. 

Why choose PeaceHealth 

We see you as a whole person, not just somebody with lung cancer. That’s why lung cancer care at PeaceHealth includes:

  • Integrated services including caring cancer social workers, family counseling, nutrition advice, spiritual guidance and financial aid. You also have access to services that make life a little easier during treatment like massage, acupuncture, music and pet therapy, and more.
  • Nurse navigators or care coordinators to help with scheduling, make sure you understand your care plan and be your advocate throughout treatment and recovery.
  • Ongoing support because lung cancer care doesn’t end when treatments are done. You may choose to do rehab or physical therapy as part of your continuing care or join a support group for self-care. Regular cancer screenings are important, too.

Next steps

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, you suddenly have a lot to consider. 

Now is a time you might want extra support from friends, family — and healthcare professionals. PeaceHealth is here to make sure you get the help you need.

To learn more, contact a cancer center near you, research PeaceHealth cancer specialists or visit our health information library for resources and information about lung cancer.