Lung Cancer

If you have lung cancer, Rush offers immunotherapy, targeted treatments and minimally invasive surgery — all from a nationally recognized team of specialists.

If you have lung cancer, Rush offers immunotherapy, targeted treatments and minimally invasive surgery — all from a nationally recognized team of specialists.

Lung cancer forms in the lung's tissues, most often in the cells that line the air passages. There are two main types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer, which includes adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and large cell carcinomas. It is the most common type of lung cancer. It is usually slow-growing and does not spread as fast as small cell lung cancer.
  • Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive form of lung cancer most common in people who smoke. It usually starts in your breathing tubes, quickly growing and spreading to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.

Today, the outlook for lung cancer is better than it was even just five to 10 years ago, thanks to advanced treatments like immunotherapies and minimally invasive surgery.

The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the more treatable it is. Annual lung cancer screening is one of the most effective ways to detect it early. Rush offers low-dose lung CT screening for people at high risk for lung cancer who meet certain criteria.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important you consult your doctor to be screened for lung cancer, especially if you smoke or used to be a smoker:

  • A persistent cough (one that won't go away) and is worsening over time
  • Constant chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

You also may be at higher risk if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Occupational exposures
  • Radon exposure
  • Family history of lung cancer (a parent or sibling)
  • History of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
  • Living in an area with high air pollution

If you have the following risk factors, you qualify for and should strongly consider annual lung cancer screening:

  • You have a smoking history of, on average, a pack a day for at least 30 years; or two packs a day for at least 15 years.
  • You are a former smoker between 55 and 77.
  • You smoke now, or you quit smoking within the last 15 years.

Lung Cancer Providers at Rush

Learn more about lung cancer providers at Rush.

Meet our lung cancer providers
stethoscope Meet our lung cancer providers

Rush Excellence in Lung Cancer Care

  • Among the best for lung cancer surgery: The lung cancer surgery program at Rush University Medical Center has received three stars — the highest rating possible — from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, an honor given to only the top 5% of thoracic surgery programs in the U.S. and Canada. Released every six months, the 3-star rating has been awarded to Rush a total of eight consecutive times since the star ratings were established in 2015.
  • Recognized for lung cancer care — by our patients: Rush is one of two U.S. and five worldwide lung cancer programs consistently honored by The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer for providing the highest quality patient care. Acknowledging cancer care teams across the globe who go above and beyond to provide the highest-quality patient care, the award is unique in that patients nominate the recipients.
  • Leaders in precision medicine: The lung cancer team works closely with Tempus — a biotechnology company that analyzes your specific genetic and clinical data and provides information about how your specific cancer may respond to targeted treatments. This allows your care team to tailor treatment to find the most effective option for treating your lung cancer.
  • A multidisciplinary, experienced team: A personalized treatment plan is critical to success. Our experienced and highly-trained lung cancer surgeons have performed more than 900 lung surgeries. They work closely with other specialists, including medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, radiologists and pathologists, to tailor a treatment plan just for you.
  • Nationally ranked program: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the best in the nation for cancer.
Gina's Story

I had never heard of lung cancer screening before this, and now I tell anyone I know who smokes that they should get screened — just have it checked out. If I hadn’t, I would not have found out I had lung cancer until it was probably too late. I feel like a lucky lady.

Read Gina's story