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Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is the second most common cancer affecting men (after prostate cancer) and women (after breast cancer). Even though it’s not the most common type of cancer, it’s by far the leading cause of cancer related death in this country. Lung cancer primarily affects older adults, although it can happen at any age. This is why lung cancer screening is so important – helping to detect cancer at an earlier stage and save lives. 


Lung cancer symptoms may include:

  • Coughing, especially coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurrent infections like bronchitis or pneumonia

Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms are present, the cancer is often more advanced. Early lung cancer is often asymptomatic.


Lung cancer screening can help save lives by looking for cancer before you have any symptoms. Finding and treating cancer early means you have a greater chance of survival. At Aurora we use a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of your chest to detect lung cancer. The procedure is painless and usually lasts only a few minutes. You'll get your results within a week of your scan.

Who should get screened? 

People with a history of cigarette smoking have a higher risk of lung cancer. Based on the National Lung Screening Trial findings, lung cancer screening is recommended for this group of people:

  • People between the ages of 55 and 77 and
  • Current smokers with a smoking history of at least 30 pack years (For example 1 pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs/day for 15 years, etc) OR, 
  • Former smokers with at least a 30 pack year smoking history who have quit within the last 15 years
  • Asymptomatic/have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

How do I get screened?

To schedule a screening contact your primary care office. Find a Primary Care Provider 

For more information, call the Aurora Health Care Screening program at 800-252-2990 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

How do I schedule a screening?

Below is a list of all sites that do lung cancer screenings. Please call the numbers below to schedule your screening! (A provider’s order is needed to have a screening):

Breathe Easier

Assess Your Risk With a Low-Dose CT Scan
Is the lung cancer screening program right for you? Learn more about lung screening and treatment options from Aurora doctors.

Treatment Options

If you're diagnosed with lung cancer, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options based on the stage of your cancer:

Surgery: Your surgeon may remove only a small part of your lung (called a segmental or wedge resection), the entire lobe (called a lobectomy), or the entire lung on one side (called a pneumonectomy).

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS): At Aurora, minimally invasive techniques are commonly employed. VATS uses smaller incisions and the insertion of a small camera to remove portions of your lung. Smaller incisions generally result in less pain and shorter hospital stays.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy): This procedure may be used before surgery to shrink your tumor or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. For some individuals with early stage cancers who are not candidates for surgery because of other medical problems or who do not desire surgery may consider CyberKnife radiosurgery as an option.Your doctor might also recommend it in place of surgery or to relieve symptoms like pain or shortness of breath.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapeutic drugs may be used to treat your cancer before or after surgery, or if surgery is not an option. 

CyberKnife radiosurgery: For some individuals with early stage cancers who are not candidates for surgery because of other medical problems or those who do not desire surgery, CyberKnife radiology is an option. CyberKnife delivers radiation to your tumor with pinpoint accuracy, while sparing the normal, healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. 

Palliative treatments: Palliative treatments can relieve or prevent pain or shortness of breath caused by advanced lung cancer.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT): PDT uses drugs called photosensitizes, which are “turned on” by certain types of light, to kill your cancer cells.

Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy): Brachytherapy involves placing small radioactive seeds into your airway (bronchus), typically for just a short time. These radioactive seeds deliver radiation directly to your tumor while they’re in place.

Tracheal and bronchial stenting: Lung tumors can sometimes cause your airway (also known as a trachea or bronchus) to become blocked, leading to shortness of breath. A stent is a tube used to open an airway or prevent it from collapsing.

Talc pleurodesis: This procedure removes fluid from around your lung and prevents it from coming back. Your surgeon will insert a camera into your chest to drain the fluid, then instill talc, which seals the linings of your lung (pleura) and prevents fluid from building up again.

Tunneled pleural catheters: A tube is placed in your chest to drain fluid from around your lung, and left there so that you can remove additional fluid yourself at home. Once all the fluid is gone, the tube is taken out.

No matter which treatment option you choose you'll have a team of dedicated specialists with you every step of the way. They include medical and radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, interventional radiologists, interventional pulmonologists, and cancer nurse navigators.

Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic

Aurora Cancer Care's Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic brings together a team of dedicated thoracic cancer specialists to provide you with personalized care using the latest treatments and technologies. From diagnosis to treatment, we will coordinate your care to ensure the best possible outcome.

Our clinic follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, a national organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of cancer care. Collaboration and communication between your primary care doctor and cancer team:
  • Provides comprehensive, coordinated care and personalized treatment plans based on your cancer diagnosis
  • Increases your access to clinical trials and the latest treatment approaches
  • Improves efficiency and follow-up care


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