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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. Our 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.

Risk Factors

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers, responsible for one in four cancer deaths.

  • The major cause of lung cancer is smoking. Smokers (men and women) age 55 and older who have been smoking for 30 years or more are at the highest risk of developing lung cancer
  • Second-hand smoke can result in lung cancer for adults who have never smoked, as well as respiratory illnesses in children who are routinely exposed to smoke

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The first warning signs of lung cancer may be subtle – a cough, shortness of breath or unexpected weight loss. When those symptoms appear and linger, especially if you are a heavy smoker, ask your primary care physician to order a preliminary chest x-ray to determine if further screening is needed.

Comprehensive Care for Lung Cancer

If a preliminary x-ray uncovers an area of concern, or even if you’re just ready to quit smoking to reduce your risk, Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Lung Cancer Program is prepared to help you with all of the medical expertise, diagnostic tools and personal support you need to fight this challenging disease.

Lung Cancer Screening

If you are 55 or older and have been smoking for most of your adult life, you are eligible for lung cancer screening through Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Lung Cancer Program. A low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan of the chest, a quick, non-invasive procedure, looks for abnormal lesions that could be a potential cancer.

The CT scan discovers any abnormal lesions, our lung nodule clinic monitors them to detect cancer at the earliest possible stage. A specialist in lung disease will determine what additional tests are needed to diagnose potential lung cancer.

If your scan shows no cause for immediate concern, Memorial Hermann Hospital will connect you to a smoking cessation program that helps you quit while you’re ahead and supports you as you progress.

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, Memorial Hermann Hospital completes diagnosis and staging in a single procedure. It 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.

In early stages, lung resections for curative surgery are performed by thoracic surgeons who specialize in the procedure. 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. Chemotherapy and targeted drugs – including genetic profiling and next-generation sequencing (NSG) to identify specifically targeted therapies
  3. Radiation

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 additional support to address emotional needs and healthy lifestyle choices.

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

Medical Oncology

Thoracic Surgery

Radiation Oncology

  • Angel L. Blanco, M.D.

Pulmonary Medicine

  • Pushan Jani, M.D.

Interventional and Diagnostic Imaging

  • Sandra Oldham
  • Emma Ferguson
  • Daniel O. Trujillo
  • Alan M. Cohen
  • David Q. Wan

Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics

  • Richard Brown, M.D.

Palliative Care and Pain Management

Nutritional Counseling and Weight Loss Management

  • Erica Jenscke