Lung cancer treatment

What if you had access to the latest options for treating lung cancer by a multidisciplinary team of experts, close to home? Now you do, at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Here, you’ll benefit from a dedicated team of lung cancer experts working together from day one, just for you. Our Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic — the first one established in the western suburbs, in March 2009 — brings together expert cancer professionals from a variety of specialties under one roof. This means faster, more efficient treatment.

We provide the latest diagnostic tools to accurately evaluate, diagnose and stage lung cancer. Then, different subspecialties meet to discuss your diagnosis and collectively decide on the right individualized treatment approach for you.

Our lung cancer experts offer state-of-the-art technology and techniques to treat lung cancer, including minimally invasive robotic surgery, genotype-directed therapy, and the latest radiation technologies. We consistently and actively participate in clinical trials to stay on top of the latest approaches.

Lung cancer screening

We provide low-dose CT lung screening for at-risk patients. This lung screening, designed to assist in early detection, can save lives of people at high risk for developing lung cancer.

In the event of a suspicious finding, your scan will be reviewed by our team of lung cancer experts within our Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic. This process provides multiple, expert opinions in one setting to personalize your care.

Lung cancer diagnosis & staging

Your individualized lung cancer treatment plan starts with an accurate diagnosis. We use advanced lung cancer diagnostic technology to accurately diagnosis the disease.

We now have a better understanding that not all lung cancers are the same. In addition to determining cell type (e.g., non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) vs small cell), extent of disease, and tumor stage, we evaluate the histologic and molecular features of each patient’s tumor to individualize treatment.

For instance, for patients with metastatic NSCLC, we can assess for the presence of a driver mutation in the patient’s tumor to target specific molecular pathways in the malignant cells (personalized genotype-directed therapy).

Lung cancer surgery

Our expert thoracic surgeons and interventional pulmonologists provide innovative surgical procedures for lung cancer. We can perform less invasive biopsies through endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS). EBUS uses a bronchoscope fitted with an ultrasound device to evaluate and sample cancerous cells in the chest in real time.

Additionally, our thoracic surgeons provide minimally invasive surgeries to treat lung cancer:

  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): VATS is used to biopsy lung tissue and/or remove portions of the lung that contain cancerous tissue without opening the chest. It can be used to perform a lobectomy or wedge resection, for a faster, more comfortable recovery.
  • da Vinci® Surgical System (robotic surgery): One of the most advanced surgical technologies available, da Vinci offers a minimally invasive alternative for complex lung surgery. Through a few tiny incisions, the surgeon guides miniature instruments and a tiny high-definition 3D camera to a lung tumor with unprecedented accuracy.

Lung cancer chemotherapy

We often recommend systemic therapy (chemotherapy, targeted therapy and/or immunotherapy) for patients with more advanced, stage IV lung disease. Our lung cancer experts use advanced molecular testing to customize chemotherapy to your individual needs.

We test a small amount of tissue to examine the tumor at a molecular level and determine how you may benefit from chemotherapy — before you get it. This helps reduce unpleasant and unnecessary side effects.

Lung cancer immunotherapy

Immunotherapy drugs for lung cancer are designed to help the body's immune system better recognize lung cancer cells and destroy them. We now offer lung cancer patients first line treatment with an antiPD-1 inhibitor immunotherapy instead of chemotherapy, which often has improved results and fewer side effects.

Targeted therapy for lung cancer

With genomic testing, we can tailor your lung cancer treatment specifically to your needs. We collect a tissue sample during a biopsy, and then test the tissue for certain markers to see if you would benefit from targeted therapy.

Targeted therapies are designed to block the growth and spread of lung cancer by attacking lung cancer cells specifically, which results in less side effects. We offer oral targeted therapies, such as small molecule kinase inhibitors, as well as targeted therapies administered intravenously, in the form of monoclonal antibodies or small molecules.

Lung cancer radiation therapy

Our radiation oncologists offer advanced radiation technologies to target lung cancer, including options for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors.

We offer the latest radiation therapy technologies to target lung cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible, including:

  • IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) with respiratory gating to adjust for tumor motion, as tumors near the lungs often move as a result of breathing. This helps us to target the tumor, protect healthy tissue from radiation, and reduce side effects.
  • IGRT (image guided RT)
  • SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy)
  • CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System

Lung cancer care team

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, our difference is in our comprehensive, collaborative approach. You have a multidisciplinary team of lung cancer experts working for you, including, but not limited to:

  • Medical and radiation oncologists
  • Thoracic surgeon
  • Pulmonologists, including interventional pulmonologists
  • Radiologist
  • Pathologist
  • Geneticist
  • Patient navigator (nurse)
  • Social worker

Meet our lung cancer experts

We also collaborate with Loyola University Medical Center thoracic surgeons to offer world-class lung cancer care close to home.

Lung cancer nurse navigators

Nurse navigators assist you and your family immediately following diagnosis all the way through treatment and into survivorship. You’ll have a direct phone number to call your nurse navigator any time.

Your nurse navigator can help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment options, answer questions, advocate for you, schedule your appointments and help coordinate care between your physician, surgeon and other support services. They also partner with social workers to handle everything from paperwork for financial issues to disability information.

Lung cancer support

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a variety of support services to help you through your lung cancer journey. We even offer programs for your family members. Social work and palliative care support is readily available full time in the cancer center.

Lung cancer survivorship

Our support continues after your lung cancer treatment is complete. We’ll meet with you and provide a survivorship care plan so you know what to watch for and when to contact us should you have any concerns. Your plan will include ongoing surveillance (scans, labs, visits, etc.).