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Lung Cancer

Know the Risk Factors and Symptoms of Lung Cancer - and Your Options to Fight It

Erlanger Cancer Institute
979 East Third Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-778-9250

Lung cancer is the third-most commonly diagnosed cancer (skin cancer is first, with prostate cancer second in men, and breast cancer second in women). But it is the leading cause of cancer death. While a lung cancer diagnosis is frightening, our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to providing advanced lung cancer treatment.

We perform complex airway and lung surgeries, including robot-assisted and minimally invasive procedures, in an effort to save as much healthy lung tissue as possible.

Am I at Risk for Lung Cancer?

The leading risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths result from smoking.

What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Unfortunately, you may not notice any signs of lung cancer until the disease is advanced. Some symptoms may include:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent cough that won’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss

How will my lung cancer be diagnosed?

If the doctor suspects lung cancer, they may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Imaging tests: These tests take pictures of the inside of the body and may include a chest X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, or bone scan.
  • Biopsy: If something in the lung looks suspicious, the doctor may need to take a tissue sample the your lung for further testing. We offer many minimally invasive methods for sampling tissue that are quick and relatively painless, including bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound, and needle biopsies
  • Interventional Radiology, Interventional Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery
  • Lung Cancer Screening: If you are between the ages of 55 and 80 years old, and if you are a current or former tobacco smoker, you may be eligible to participate in a screening program that is covered by your insurance with no copay or any out-of-pocket expense to you. The Lung Cancer Screening program was developed to assist patients in the early detection of lung cancer.

What Are my Lung Cancer Treatment Options?

If you have lung cancer, your case will be discussed at Erlanger's multidisciplinary tumor board. This highly skilled group of cancer experts will make recommendations and discuss your treatment options with you and your treating physician.

We’ll develop a treatment plan specific to your cancer, health needs, and priorities. We may recommend chemotherapy, radiation oncology, surgery, or a combination of these.

Your lung cancer treatment also may include:

  • Lung cancer surgery - We perform a full range of surgical options, and we use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.
  • Cyberknife radiation - This specialized robotic, radiation technique targets tumors with pinpoint accuracy
  • Latest chemotherapeutic agents - Drugs that are targeted to specific cells that are unique to your cancer
  • Traditional chemotherapy -  Drugs that kill rapidly dividing cancer cells
  • Ablation and therapeutic techniques - These treatments destroy cancer cells, stop bleeding, and help you breathe better

Related Services

 Meet Your Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator: Support and Education for the Journey