Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a type of cell that originates in the lungs and begins to grow out of control. Cancer Care of North Florida will take careful steps stage and grade the tumor to assess the best way to create and manage your treatment plan. Our goal is to achieve the very best outcome while preserving your quality of life.

There are 2 main types of lung cancer tumors, and they are treated very differently:

  • Non-small cell (most common)
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Large cell carcinoma
  • Small cell (also known as oat cell)

Other, less common lung tumors include:

  • Lung carcinoid tumors
  • Sarcomas
  • Lymphomas

The level of invasiveness is determined by diagnostic testing and imaging.

What are the risk factors for Lung Cancer?

It may be possible to avoid some risk factors for lung cancer, but some are out of your control. The best plan is to catch it early. Lifestyle and hereditary factors include:

  • Smoking (leading risk factor)
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to radon
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Workplace exposures
  • Air pollution
  • Previous radiation to the chest/lungs
  • Personal history of lung cancer
  • Inheriting certain gene changes
  • Family history of lung cancer

Symptoms of Lung Cancer Include:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing
  • Horner syndrome
  • Superior vena cava syndrome

Many of these symptoms are likely to be caused by conditions other than lung cancer. Seeking care early can help find cancer earlier and improve outcomes. Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread, but some people with early lung cancer do have symptoms.

Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

At Cancer Care of North Florida, once cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists may order diagnostic testing and imaging to help determine the stage and extent of the disease. It is very important to do a comprehensive lung cancer work-up to carefully evaluate the extent of the cancer.

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Chest x-ray
  • Pulmonary function testing
  • Sputum cytology
  • Thoracentesis
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Mediastinoscopy
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Biopsy and molecular assessment
  • Blood tests for tumor markers
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • PET imaging
  • Bone scan

Lung cancer treatment depends on the extent of the cancer within your body. At Cancer Care of North Florida, we use the most advanced therapies available to treat lung cancer. An individualized plan of care may include multiple types of treatments.

Surgery for Small-Cell lung cancer is rarely used as part of the treatment plan, as the cancer has usually spread elsewhere upon diagnosis.

Types of surgery for Non-Small Cell lung cancer include the following:

Pneumonectomy – This surgery removes an entire lung. This might be needed if the tumor is close to the center of the chest.
Lobectomy – The lungs are made up of 5 lobes (3 on the right and 2 on the left). In this surgery, the entire lobe containing the tumor(s) is removed. If it can be done, this is often the preferred type of operation for NSCLC.
Segmentectomy or wedge resection – In these surgeries, only part of a lobe is removed. This approach might be used if a person doesn’t have enough normal lung function to withstand removing the whole lobe.
Sleeve resection – This operation may be used to treat some cancers in large airways in the lungs.
Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS thoracoscopy) – It uses smaller incisions, typically has a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications than a thoracotomy.
Robotically assisted thoracic surgery (RATS thoracoscopy) – thoracoscopy is done using a robotic system.

Other forms of non-surgical interventions for lung cancer include:

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) – RFA uses high-energy radio waves to heat the tumor. An electric current is passed through the probe, which heats the tumor and destroys the cancer cells. RFA might be considered for some people with small lung tumors that are near the outer edge of the lungs, especially if they can’t tolerate surgical intervention.
Radiation – Any remaining cancer cells left after surgery are destroyed with high-energy radiation beams. For some lung cancer, treating with chemotherapy at the same time can make radiation therapy work better. It is possible to receive radiation therapy before, during or after surgical intervention. Also, when surgery is not possible, radiation can be used to help slow the growth of the tumor. We work closely with Cancer Care of North Florida Radiation Oncology located on campus.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (chemo) are anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into your vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemotherapy can sometimes be given before, during or after surgery. At Cancer Care of North Florida, our team provide extensive education and supportive care through your therapy.
Targeted Treatments – Targeted drugs work differently from chemo drugs. They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have different side effects. They can be used either along with chemotherapy or by themselves if chemotherapy is no longer working. Targeted treatment options are determined by further genetic testing of the tumor cells. This type of testing is usually done on the biopsied tissue of the tumor cells.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the use of medicines to help a person’s own immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used to treat some people with advanced lung cancer.

Why Choose Us?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with lung cancer, it is crucial to work with a team of cancer experts who not only have extensive experience, but also a strong track record for achieving the best possible outcome for their patients. While this type of cancer is treatable, the dedicated team Cancer Care of North Florida will initially stage and treat this form of cancer and monitor and treat cancer recurrence or complications that may occur later.

At Cancer Care of North Florida, our physicians are highly specialized in treating multiple types of cancer with the most advanced techniques. Using a team approach, we strive for excellence. We work with each patient to specifically tailor their treatment to their own clinical situation. One of the common diseases that we treat is lung cancer.

  • Highly trained, collaborative oncology specialists all currently taking new patients
  • Consultation appointments scheduled within 3-5 days of referral and in some cases same-day appointments available
  • One-stop campus for comprehensive diagnositics and treatment for many types of cancer including radiation, chemotherapy infusion, lab draws and imaging services
  • Onsite infusion center offers comfortable, home-like setting
  • In-office lab testing
  • In-office medication dispensary
  • Open, immediate access to outpatient symptom management
  • 24-hour physician coverage
  • COPI-certified clinical trials
  • We accept most insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid, and VA