Open Accessibility Menu

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. The two main types are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These types are diagnosed based on how the cells look under a microscope. Each type of lung cancer grows and spreads in different ways and is treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common, and generally grows and spreads more slowly. Non-small cell cancer is divided into three main types and are named for the type of cells in which the cancer develops. These three types are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Small cell lung cancer, sometimes referred to as oat cell cancer, is less common than non-small cell lung cancer. This cancer grows more quickly and is likely to spread to other organs of the body.

There are several causes of lung cancer, most related to the use of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars and pipes, environmental tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, pollution, lung diseases, and personal history. Some of the common symptoms of lung cancer include cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time, constant chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness, repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis, swelling of the neck and face, loss of appetite or weight loss, and fatigue.

During your doctor appointment a family history of cancer will be taken along with, your medical history, smoking history, and exposure to environmental and occupational substances. A physical exam is performed as well as a chest x-ray and sputum cytology to detect lung cancer. To confirm the diagnosis the doctor must examine tissue from the lung and this is done through a biopsy. Tissue can be obtained through bronchoscopy, needle aspiration, thoracentesis, or thoracotomy. The tissue is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist for diagnosis.

If the diagnosis is cancer the doctor will next need to know the stage of the disease to help plan treatment. Tests used for staging include CT scan, MRI, radionuclide scanning, bone scan, and mediastinoscopy. Planning for treatment depends on the type of lung cancer non-small cell versus small cell, the size, location and extent of tumor, as well as general health of the patient. Treatment options available are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, photodynamic therapy, and clinical trials. Together you and your healthcare team will answer your questions and develop a treatment plan to best meet your needs.

Related Providers
What Our Patients Have to Say
  • "My wife (Gerie Helton) and I traveled to Cody for our anniversary trip to Yellowstone National Park. On September 23, 2018 which would have been the first day of our trip she dislocated her left hip ( which had been replaced in 2009 0r 2010) while putting on her socks ( of all things.) We were staying at the Sunrise Motor Inn which fortunately was a short ambulance ride to your emergency room. The experience we had beginning with the EMT's who responded to the ambulance call, to the emergency room, and the next day on the second floor of your fine hospital is what ..."

    - Terry
  • "ER department went to great lengths to make this "out of towner" feel comfortable. Dr. Polley and Nurse Sarah were very professional and had a great bedside manner. It was my worst asthma attack and I felt very confident that I was getting top notch care."

    - Kelly
  • "Had to bring my daughter for a shoulder injury, on July 4th. I was thoroughly impressed. The staff was absolutely great, very friendly and compassionate. They took great care of my daughter and explained the diagnosis and discharge orders with great detail. I only wish our ER back home could be this professional. I know this is a smaller town and more tight knit, but this hospital/ER could set an example for the rest of the country. Thanks to the staff, physician and PA for the excellent care."

    - Chris
  • "I was a walk in patient on 5/29/18. I had been sick for several days while on a month long motorhome trip. The reception staff was friendly and efficient. I was seen quickly by the PA on duty, Robert Lang. He listened to me, did an exam, diagnosed my illness as acute bronchitis, and prescribed the necessary medication. I was feeling better in just a few days which enabled me to enjoy the remainder of my trip. I was sick and a long way from home so I really appreciated the excellent and friendly care that I received."

    - Bill