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Lung cancer typically begins in the cells that line air passages. There are two main types, which are diagnosed by looking at the cells under a microscope:
- Small cell lung cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
The physicians and thoracic surgeons at the UVM Medical Center are committed to providing compassionate and effective care for lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Care at UVM Medical Center
Our multidisciplinary team of lung cancer specialists
- Efficiency - We know you want to start getting better as quickly as possible. You will leave after your first visit knowing that our team members are talking to each other to come up with a treatment plan. Our goal is three weeks or less from your initial appointment to your first treatment.
- Research-based expertise - Most of our doctors not only treat patients but also serve as professors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and participate in a thriving cancer research program at The UVM Cancer Center and Vermont Lung Center. Your care is based on the most up-to-date evidence on lung cancer treatments.
- Advanced technology - Lung cancer treatment at The University of Vermont Medical Center includes unique and modern technology. You have the option of lung cancer video-assisted surgery (known as VATS), which shortens recovery time.
- Surgical excellence - Our thoracic surgeons have specialized expertise in the staging and treatment of lung cancer so you have the best outcomes.
- Coordinated care - Our patient navigators will lead you through the entire process of diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer. We will provide education and coordinate tests, appointments, and communications with your providers.
Lung Cancer: An Overview
Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Lung cancer claims more lives each year than breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers combined.
Some risk factors can be controlled, such as smoking, but others cannot. Lung cancer risk factors include:
- Smoking (Want to quit smoking?)
- Breathing secondhand smoke
- Some smoking-related lung diseases: emphysema, for example
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Exposure to gases and chemicals either at home or work:
- Radon gas
- Lung cancer in close family members
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Lung cancer symptoms typically start happening when the cancer is advanced. Some lung cancer symptoms may include:
- A new cough that won't go away
- Changes in a chronic cough (sometimes called "smoker's cough")
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss (without trying)
- Bone pain
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
The UVM Medical Center is here to help you through every aspect of your care, starting from the moment you first visit us for your initial assessment. We want to provide you with the support, information and care that you need during the treatment period - and beyond. Additionally, we offer long-term surveillance once you return to your daily life.
The Clinic offers leading technology in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer, including:
- Computed tomography (CT) scanning - uses a detailed X-ray to create 3D images of the lungs
- Magnetic resonance (MRI) imaging - uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the lungs
- Positron emission tomography (PET-CT) scanning - uses a radioactive substance to see inside the body and take images of the lungs
- Surgical lung biopsy - takes a small tissue sample from the lung to be viewed under a microscope
- Complete pulmonary function test laboratory - includes a range of tests that measure how the lungs are functioning
Treatments for Lung Cancer
Though some of these words may sound intimidating, you should know that a great deal of progress has been made in cancer care in recent years. For many of the treatments listed, side effects have been greatly reduced.
Lung cancer treatment options at The University of Vermont Medical Center include:
- Thoracic surgery
- Lung cancer video-assisted surgery, which has a shorter recovery time and is less invasive
- Linear accelerator radiation therapy - uses electricity to create high-energy radiation that shrinks tumors
- Multiple on-site and home chemotherapy options
- Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or cryo-ablation of lung modules - the use of radio waves or extreme cold to destroy tumors without surgery
- Local treatment within blocked airways and placement of stents
Your lung cancer treatment team includes the advanced care and expertise of a specialized group of physicians who work together in the fields of:
- Thoracic surgery
- Medical oncology (chemotherapy)
- Radiation oncology
- Pulmonary medicine
- Diagnostic and invasive radiology
- Cytopathology and surgical pathology
- Cancer patient support
We also meet special needs, such as:
- Nutritional services
- Pain services
- Palliative care
- Hospice services
As part of the UVM Medical Center, we offer the opportunity to participate in the latest lung cancer treatment clinical trials.
In addition, we offer our patients a variety of specialized support programs.
- Cancer Patient Support Program
- Social services consultation
- Financial services consultation
- Psychology and psychiatry support
Lung Cancer Care at UVM Medical Center: How We Compare
At UVM Medical Center, we see approximately 250 patients each year for diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
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