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Lung Cancer

Our team is ready with innovative care to diagnose, treat and beat lung cancer.
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Comprehensive care for lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the leading types of cancer in both men and women. This type of cancer typically starts in the lining of the tubes, branches and air sacs that make up your lungs. Then, cancerous cells can grow and spread in the lungs and beyond.

Whether you’re at risk for lung cancer or looking for treatment options, you have complete care nearby. Our lung cancer centers offer everything from advanced diagnostic technology to complex lung cancer procedures.

If you’re unsure where to start, our patient navigators can help. Connect with your local patient navigator to learn more about your lung cancer options.

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Why Baylor Scott & White for lung cancer care

Lung cancer often requires care from multiple experts. Our lung cancer centers bring together an entire team with one focus: helping you defeat lung cancer. With our team by your side, you’ll have access to innovative services at every stage of care.

If you’re at high risk, we offer screenings to catch signs of cancer sooner. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, you’ll have access to innovative treatment options. And, if you’re a lung cancer survivor, we have follow-up programs that support you in the next stage of your cancer journey.

  • Care from multiple specialists in one place
  • Lung cancer care centers across North and Central Texas
  • Low-dose CT (LDCT) screening program
  • Advanced, minimally invasive surgical options
  • Access to clinical trials
  • Patient navigators to advocate for you
  • Support services and survivorship program

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Baylor Scott & White Health is the third largest network of cancer centers accredited by the Commission on Cancer.

Nationally accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).

Finding lung cancer care

You have access to multiple care centers, including centers specializing in lung cancer care. Get started by finding a lung cancer care location near you.

Types of lung cancer

Our experts care for all types of lung cancer. We’ll arm you with information about your type and stage so you can make choices about your care with confidence.

Types of lung cancer

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  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • Metastatic lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Most lung cancers are a type of non-small cell lung cancer. NSCLC tends to grow slower and may not cause symptoms at first. Some types of NSCLC we treat include:

Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma accounts for 60% of all lung cancer cases. This type of cancer occurs mainly in those who formerly or currently smoke – though it is also the most common type of lung cancer in those who do not smoke.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma starts in the cells that line the inside of the airways within the lungs, also known as squamous cells. This type of cancer is typically found in the central part of the lungs.

Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma

Large cell carcinoma, also known as undifferentiated carcinoma, can appear anywhere within the lung. It generally spreads and grows rapidly.

Adenosquamous carcinoma

Adenosquamous carcinoma is a rare type of lung cancer that shows components of adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinoma.

Sarcomatoid carcinoma

Sarcomatoid carcinoma is a rare type of lung cancer. These malignancies are a group of poorly differentiated carcinomas with two cells: sarcomatous morphology with giant and/or spindle cells as well as sarcomatoids. Sarcomatoid carcinomas currently remain a relatively unexplored entity.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

Small cell lung cancer is sometimes also called oat cell cancer. SCLC isn’t as common as NSCLC, and it’s often linked to a history of tobacco use. Often, SCLC grows faster than other types of lung cancer.

Metastatic lung cancer

Lung cancer can advance outside the lungs and nearby tissue to areas like your liver, bones or brain. Sometimes, this happens before you ever have symptoms. The term metastatic means that your lung cancer has spread to other places in your body.

What causes lung cancer

While smoking is the most well-known risk factor for lung cancer, other factors increase your risk too. If you are at risk, you can take steps to detect lung cancer early—which often gives you more treatment options.

What causes lung cancer

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Breathing harmful chemicals such as abestos or radon
  • Acquired gene changes
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Air pollution
  • Previous radiation therapy to lungs

The earlier you find lung cancer, the more options you have to beat it. Low-dose CT (LDCT) screening can detect lung cancer before you have symptoms. If you smoke or have in the past, you may qualify for LDCT screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly lung cancer screenings for those who meet the following guidelines:

  • Be 50-80 years old
  • Have a smoking history of 20 pack years – (number of packs per day x number of years smoked. i.e.: 1 pack/day for 20 years = 20 pack years)​
  • Be a current smoker or stopped smoking within the last 15 years​
  • Have no symptoms

Learn about lung screening

Reach out

Contact our nurse navigator program to learn how we can help you through your journey

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer

In the early stages of lung cancer, you may have no symptoms at all. But it’s important to know the most common signs of lung cancer, especially if you’re at risk. By staying in tune with your lung health, you can get the care you need sooner.

Find out more about warnings signs and symptoms of each type of lung cancer. Then, if you notice a symptom or want to know more about your risk, visit your doctor to get checked.

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How is lung cancer diagnosed?

When you have lung cancer symptoms, we’re ready with follow-up care. Several imaging tests and diagnostic procedures are available to care for you. We'll assess any signs of cancer and provide you with your next steps.

Diagnosis

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  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Bronchoscopy/Endobronchial ultrasound
  • PET
  • Needle biopsy
  • Thoracentesis
  • MRI

Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray is a noninvasive imaging test that gives your doctor a picture of the inside of your chest. If your doctor sees a chest mass or possible tumor in your lungs, you may have more tests.

CT scan

A quick computed tomography (CT) scan with a low amount of radiation can provide a picture of your lungs. The actual scan only takes about five minutes. CT scans can find lung cancer before symptoms ever appear.

Bronchoscopy/Endobronchial ultrasound

Bronchoscopy provides a look inside your lungs. A doctor inserts a thin tube into your mouth or nose down into your airways. The procedure is used to both diagnose and treat symptoms of lung cancer.

An endobronchial ultrasound uses ultrasound technology to help your doctor view the inside of your lungs and airways. It also is used to diagnose lung cancer.

PET

During a PET scan, you’ll have a small amount of radioactive material injected into your blood. This material shows where cancer cells are in the body. It can help diagnose and stage your lung cancer.

Needle biopsy

If you have a lung nodule, your doctor may take a sample of the tissue for testing. This is called a biopsy. A needle is guided into the nodule using imaging to take a sample, which is then sent to the lab.

Thoracentesis

During this procedure, a doctor inserts a needle into the space between your chest wall and lungs. Then, fluid is removed. Thoracentesis can both provide a fluid sample for testing and relieve symptoms of fluid buildup.

MRI

An MRI of the lungs uses magnets and radio waves to create detailed images. MRIs are most often used to provide more details about lung cancer after it has been diagnosed.

  • Lung Cancer Screening Program

    If you’re a current or previous smoker, you may qualify for screening with a low-dose CT scan. This quick, lifesaving test can catch lung cancer when it’s most treatable.

Stages of lung cancer

Your care team will use tests to measure the size of a tumor and how far it has spread. This is called staging. The stage of your lung cancer helps guide your treatment. Staging criteria varies between non-small cell lung cancer and small-cell lung cancer.

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Treatments for lung cancer

You have hope for treating lung cancer. We offer advanced surgical procedures, targeted therapies and ongoing research to care for you. With multiple specialists on your team, we’ll design a plan of care to fight your specific lung cancer.

Lung cancer treatment options include:

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  • A simple lung cancer screening saved my life

    Barney | Lung cancer

    When Barney got a postcard about lung cancer screening for former smokers, he decided he should get checked. It’s a good thing he did. His CT scan revealed cancer. Days later, he had surgery to remove part of his lung. But because he caught his cancer early, he didn’t need chemo.

  • Cancer research

    Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) conducts innovative studies exploring potentially new medications and therapies for nearly a dozen different cancer types. Trials are currently underway at select Baylor Scott & White locations.

Lung cancer support

Lung cancer affects your life in many ways. From emotional support to coping with physical effects, we’re here even when your fight feels hard.

You and your family will have support and education services tailored to every stage of your cancer journey. We’ll encourage you through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Even when you finish treatment, our survivorship program is here to care for you as you navigate life after cancer.

Quitting smoking

The use of cigarettes, pipes or cigars is the #1 preventable risk factor for lung cancer. Quitting smoking is one of the best choices you can make for your lungs—and your health overall.

Even if you’ve smoked for years, quitting now can still improve your health. After you quit, you get several immediate and long-term benefits.

When you want to quit for good, having the right support is essential. Our care team can provide you with resources for your smoking cessation journey. The National Cancer Institute also offers free support by phone at  877.448.7848 and online.

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Scheduling a consultation

With clinics, imaging centers and cancer centers across North and Central Texas, we can connect you to the lung cancer care you need. We’ll help you find a doctor for an evaluation, schedule your lung screening and more.  

Not sure where to start? We can help with that too. Our patient navigators will advocate for you and coordinate care for your lung cancer journey.

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Recent blog posts

A simple lung cancer screening saved my life

It began when a mailer arrived and caught my attention with its bright yellow background and bold headline — Lung Cancer Screening Program. My profile was certainly in the description: an ex-smoker between 50-80 years of age who had smoked for 20 years. I had no symptoms; I was jogging between five and 10 miles a week and working out on a regular basis. Still, my family on both sides has a history of cancer.

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Medicare coverage of lung cancer screening explained

Lung cancer remains a “stubborn killer” with a low survival rate. But there is new hope for the prospects of combatting the disease thanks to the results of a large, years-long study and the recent decision by Medicare to pay for lung cancer screening for those at high risk.

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Lung cancer smoking stigma persists

Those who suffer from lung cancer continue to be unfairly stigmatized because of the assumed connection between the disease and smoking, David Mason, MD, chief of thoracic surgery and lung transplantation on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, said on WFAA-TV’s (Channel 8) Good Morning Texas.

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What you might not know about lung cancer

Lung cancer can be a devastating diagnosis. Fortunately, there is a new diagnostic test now available for people at the highest risk of developing lung cancer. Jerry Barker, MD, a radiation oncologist at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, answers some commonly asked questions about lung cancer.

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Lung cancer facts: Understanding the #1 killer

There’s no easy way to say it: Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States. “More people die from lung cancer than from prostate, breast, colon and pancreas cancers combined,” said Jose F. Escobar, MD, medical director of thoracic surgery at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine and a surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Irving.

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WATCH: Low Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer

In October, we heard a lot about breast cancer. This month, prostate cancer is the hot topic. Yet, each year more Americans die from lung cancer than both these cancers combined. A big reason why is because lung cancer usually isn’t caught until its later stages. However, low dose CT scanning, a new screening protocol for lung cancer, may hold the key to changing that.

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Baylor Scott & White researchers look to “crack the cancer code” with new immuno-oncology repository

The idea that a patient’s own immune system could be harnessed to fight cancer was once a radical notion, but today, it’s reality. Over the past several years, immunotherapy has revolutionized how cancer is treated as a number of immunotherapies have been approved to treat many forms of cancer.

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Find out more about lung cancer care on Scrubbing In.

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