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Cancer Center

Lung/Thoracic Cancer
Lung/Thoracic cancer
Definition

Lung cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that originates in the lung. Approximately 180,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

The comprehensive Lung/Thoracic Cancer Program at St. Luke’s brings together a team of highly skilled cancer experts to ensure people with lung cancer receive the best course of treatment and the hope, reassurance and confidence needed to fight the disease to the fullest.

The program is led by Dr. William Burfeind, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who practices lung/thoracic surgery exclusively. 

St. Luke’s is committed to leading-edge, patient-centered and research-driven lung cancer care, offering minimally invasive cancer resections, the most up-to-date targeted chemotherapy, and the latest in stereotactic radiation.

All new cases of known or suspected lung cancer are reviewed in a weekly multidisciplinary conference where general thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists meet to agree upon the optimal treatment plan for each individual patient. Each week, every patient undergoing active lung cancer treatment at St. Luke’s is reviewed by the Lung Cancer Working Group to assess their progress.

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Symptoms

Lung cancer is commonly associated with smoking or a history of smoking. Exposure to second-hand smoke in your environment can also increase risk for the disease. Exposure to certain substances can also increase risk; these agents include asbestos, chromium, nickel, radon and arsenic. Individuals who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk of developing lung cancer as do those who have a genetic predisposition to cancer.

Symptoms for lung cancer may include:

  • A cough that does not go away or worsens
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm or spit
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • New onset of wheezing
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that won’t go away or keep coming back

St. Luke’s Lung Cancer Screening Program
Based on data from the National Lung Screening Trail, patients who are between 55 and 74 years of age and have smoked a pack a day for 30 years are eligible for low-dose CT screening for lung cancer. The screening is designed to pick up small lung cancers before they have had time to spread.

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Treatment

The treatment of lung cancer and other cancers of the chest depends on several factors, including the location of the cancer, the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes are involved and a patient's general health.

St. Luke’s offers advanced staging and treatment options, including:

  • Bronchopscopy for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes
  • Endobronical Ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Mediastinoscopy
  • Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) with Biopsy
  • Thoracoscopic (VATS) Lobectomy
  • Complex Lung Resections
  • Navigation Bronchoscopy
  • Clinical Trials
  • Targeted chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
    • External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
    • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
    • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

For additional information on programs, services and locations, download and print the following PDFs:

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Our Team

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