Lung Cancer Treatment at Siteman Cancer Center

The lung cancer team at the Siteman Cancer Center provides nationally recognized expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and other chest cancers. Our physicians treat approximately 900 new lung cancer cases each year – far more than other facilities in the region. Our programs (pulmonary medicine and cancer therapy) are ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This experience in the treatment of chest cancers means we are able to offer the latest in diagnostic tests and cutting-edge treatments.

Patients who come to the Siteman Cancer Center for treatment of lung cancer are seen by a team of Washington University Physicians – surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who only treat lung and esophageal cancers, often during the same visit. A health psychologist is also available.  Experienced nurses spend time with you, answering your questions and putting you in touch with resources that may help during this stressful time. These nurses offer patient literature on your condition, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and other related issues. Dietitians can help you deal with any nutritional issues. A multidisciplinary group of different specialists meet weekly to look at patient cases and personalize the treatment approach for difficult cases. As a unique feature of your care, we also offer the services of a palliative care specialist who can help you fit treatment into your own special circumstances.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. There are two main types of lung cancer:

  1. Non-small cell lung cancer: most lung cancers fall into this category.
  2. Small-cell lung cancer: About 10-15 percent of lung cancers fall into this category.

Each classification has different subtypes, depending on the appearance of cells that are cancerous. Different types grow and spread in different ways. Small-cell and non-small cell lung cancers are treated differently.

Clinical trials are in place now to bring promising advances into routine clinical areas. Washington University Physicians at Siteman are actively involved in and develop new therapies and clinical trials that investigate promising new approaches to manage the disease. Having your cancer treated at Siteman, either by standard therapy or as part of a trial, gives you access to the newest therapies that are at least as good as – or potentially better than – current standard therapies available elsewhere.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

  • Chest discomfort or pain.
  • A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time.
  • Trouble breathing or wheezing.
  • Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs).
  • Hoarseness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck.
  • Symptom from spread of cancer
    • Bone pain or breakage from spreading to the bone
    • Seizures from brain metastases