Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Anyone can get lung cancer, but people who smoke have the greatest risk of developing it.

If you’re worried about getting lung cancer, you can take steps to reduce your risk. And new methods of screening make it easier to find lung cancer in its earliest stages—when it’s most treatable.

If you’re already diagnosed, you can still have hope. Mercy’s cancer team has helped many patients like you face lung cancer—and overcome it.

What is Lung Cancer?

If cells inside your lungs begin to grow abnormally, they can form a cancerous mass (tumor). As the tumor grows, it may spread to other parts of your body.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

Another kind of cancer, mesothelioma, grows in tissue surrounding the lungs. It mostly affects people who were exposed to a mineral called asbestos. It is rare but often fatal.

Lung cancer symptoms may not show up until an advanced stage—and are often mistaken for other illnesses, such as bronchitis. They include:

  • A persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

See your doctor right away if you qualify for screening or if you notice any of these symptoms. Today’s screening tests, including low-dose CT scans, let doctors detect lung cancer earlier than ever. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances of surviving.

Lung cancer usually occurs among current or former smokers. Cigarette smoke contains toxic substances, which damage cells in the lungs. The longer you’ve smoked, the greater your risk of getting lung cancer—especially if you are (or were) a heavy smoker.

But you can significantly reduce your odds of getting lung cancer by quitting smoking. This is true no matter how long you’ve smoked.

Lung Cancer Treatment at Mercy

Mercy’s cancer team has experience treating all types of lung cancer, including lung cancer that has spread or come back. We’re also familiar with the fear and anxiety you’re probably feeling. We’ll nurture and protect your mind and spirit while we battle your cancer.

Your treatment plan will depend on several factors. These include what stage your cancer is in and whether it has spread. You may need one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medication, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy.
  • Radiation treatments, including brachytherapy or external beam radiation therapy. We offer stereotactic radiation treatment (high dose treatment minimizing exposure to surrounding tissue), via CyberKnife.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor, including minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Our goal is not just to help you beat lung cancer. We’ll also help prevent it from coming back. Whether you need tools to quit smoking or annual check-ups to make sure you’re cancer-free, you’ll find the support you need to stay healthy for years to come.

Should I Have a Screening?

Take our online quiz as a decision aid around your lung screening options.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Lifespan?

Use our interactive tool to estimate the impact that smoking will have on your lifespan.

Lung Cancer Risks & Treatment Courses

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