Lung Cancer Care

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Doctors diagnose close to 228,000 people with new lung cancers each year.

Although lung cancer can occur at any age, people over 65 are more likely to receive the diagnosis.

What is Lung Cancer?

Cancer occurs when normal cells begin to divide and grow quickly. In the lungs, cancer can grow in several ways depending on the type of cell it affects.

When you breathe, air enters your trachea, which branches into two bronchi — one for each lung. The bronchi divide into smaller tubes, or bronchioles. These carry air to tiny sacs in the lungs called alveoli.

The alveoli absorb oxygen from the air you breathe and remove carbon dioxide from your blood.

Lung cancers often begin in the cells that line the bronchi.

Types of Lung Cancer

The main types of lung cancer are:

  • Small cell lung cancer. This aggressive disease starts in the larger airways and is strongly associated with smoking tobacco. It accounts for about 15 percent of all lung cancers. Doctors usually don't detect it until it reaches an advanced stage, when it may have already spread.
  • Non-small cell lung cancers. These make up about 85 percent of lung cancers and include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell lung carcinoma, and large-cell carcinoma.
  • Mesothelioma. This rare type of lung cancer begins in the tissue that lines the heart, lungs, and abdomen. It's aggressive and hard to treat.

Why Choose UPMC for Lung Cancer Care?

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we have the resources and expertise to provide state-of-the-art, evidence-based care to people with lung cancer.

  • Our skilled doctors work closely with other specialists to craft an individualized treatment approach.
  • Our multidisciplinary team provides a complete continuum of care, joining best practices and access to the latest lung cancer therapies.
  • UPMC Hillman Cancer Center conducts research and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the region. This means that many of our patients are able to take part in clinical trials of advanced lung cancer treatment approaches.

Contact Us About Lung Cancer Care

To learn more about lung cancer care or to make an appointment, you can:

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Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is mainly one of two types: small cell or non-small cell. Mesothelioma is a cancer that begins in the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen.

Read about the types of lung cancer.
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Lung Cancer Screenings and Exams

A standard lung cancer screening involves meeting with a respiratory therapist and having a CT chest scan.

Read more about lung cancer screenings.
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Lung Cancer Treatment Program

The program's multidisciplinary team combines the expertise of thoracic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, and pathologists to provide a complete continuum of care.

Learn about the lung cancer treatment program.
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Treatments for Lung Cancer

Our doctors offer a full range of treatments, including:

Read more about lung cancer treatment options.
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Lung Cancer 101: The Facts and Figures You Need to Know

Read a Q&A with lung cancer expert Dr. David O. Wilson.

Learn more from UPMC HealthBeat.