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Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

From screening and diagnosis to treatment, Memorial Hermann Hospital’s comprehensive Lung Cancer Program provides personalized, multi-disciplinary and cutting-edge care for lung cancer patients. A highly specialized team of physicians, who are affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, are also involved in clinical research that translates directly into advanced patient care. The team also includes a social worker and nurse navigator to ensure that you never feel lost in a medical maze.

Patient story

See how one patient received a new lease on life at Memorial Hermann Cancer Center-Texas Medical Center »

Did You Know

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is the most common cancer in men and women combined after skin cancer.
  • Lung cancer kills 160,000 Americans every year - more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.
  • More than 220,000 people get diagnosed with lung cancer every year.

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes, now or in the past.
  • Second-hand smoke exposure. Second-hand smoke exposure increases chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
  • Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel or other substances in the workplace.
  • Exposure to radon, which can be found in the home as well as in the workplace.

Comprehensive Care for Lung Cancer

Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Lung Cancer Program is prepared to help you with all of the medical expertise, diagnostic tools and personal support necessary to fight this challenging disease.

Lung Cancer Screening and Monitoring

Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Lung Cancer Program offers lung cancer screening, using a low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan of the chest. This quick, non-invasive procedure looks for abnormal lesions that could be a potential cancer. Screening with low-dose CT has been shown in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) to reduce by 20 percent the risk of death from lung cancer among current or former smokers, aged 55 to 74 who have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years. (A pack year is equal to one pack or 20 cigarettes a day for one year.) The lung nodule clinic monitors abnormal lesions detected on the CT scan to discover cancer at the earliest possible stage. A specialist in the disease of lungs determines what additional tests are needed to diagnose potential lung cancer. To make an appointment or learn more about lung cancer screening, please call (713) 704-3961 option 3.

Lung Cancer Screening Recommendations

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Lung Association, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American Society of Clinical Oncologists, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), all now recommend that individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer consider annual screening with Low Dose CT scan of the Chest.

Memorial Hermann Hospital-TMC offers Lung Cancer Screening to you if you meet the following criteria:

  • If your age is between 55-74 years.
  • And you smoked for 30 pack-years.
  • And you currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years.

To schedule your appointment for a lung cancer screening low-Dose CT scan please call (713) 704-2833.

Lung Cancer Diagnosis

If the CT scan detects an abnormal finding, Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Lung Cancer Program is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to diagnose lung cancer:

Using these advanced technologies, diagnosis and staging can be performed in a single procedure.  The procedure begins with a biopsy, analyzed immediately by an on-site pathologist to determine whether or not a mass is malignant. If it is, the pulmonary interventional oncologist “stages” the cancer – determines its exact size, location and the extent to which it may have spread beyond the lungs – without a follow-up procedure.

Multi-disciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic

After a lung cancer diagnosis, the multi-specialty team at Memorial Hermann Hospital collaborates to ensure that treatment is carefully planned and personalized for each patient. Challenging cases are addressed by tumor boards where physicians meet to discuss treatment options and create clear, consistent plans for patients.

Early stage lung cancer is treated with curative surgery performed by thoracic surgeons who specialize in doing these procedures. For those patients who are unable to undergo lung surgery Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SBRT) is also available.  Treatment options in later stages may include one or a combination of therapies:

  1. Surgery – lobectomy (removing part of the lung) or pneumonectomy (removing the entire lung)
  2. Radiation- Including Intensity-Modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
  3. 1. Chemotherapy and targeted drugs – including genetic profiling and next-generation sequencing (NSG) to identify specifically targeted therapies

In addition, our affiliation with UTHealth provides qualifying patients with access to clinical trials that further expand treatment options.

The lung cancer team also provides early palliative care for advanced lung cancer patients – treatment that relieves discomfort, symptoms and stress. Studies have shown that this approach not only improves quality of life, it also prolongs it. Doctors also work with patients to establish advanced directives and identify goals for care.

During and after treatment, specialized lung cancer support groups give patients, survivors and their families’ assistance addressing emotional needs and healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to the providers below, patients are cared for by a team of skilled professionals in the areas of Interventional and Diagnostic Imaging, nutritional counseling and weight-loss management as well as a nurse navigator who will help guide the patient through every step of their treatment and keep open lines of communication with the referring physician on the patient's treatment plan.

The Lung Cancer Program's affiliated multi-disciplinary team includes:

Pulmonary Medicine

Radiation Oncology

  • Angel l. Blanco, M.D.

Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics

  • Robert Brown, M.D.

Clinical Pharmacist

  • Bonnie Labdi, PharmD
  • Nutritional Counseling and Weight Loss Management

    • Erica Jenscke