Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women across the world. Each year, approximately 200,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer. The University of Michigan Lung Cancer Clinic offers patients the best possible comprehensive care, including the latest treatments and investigational therapies.

With our multidisciplinary approach, a team of specialists from thoracic surgery, medical and radiation oncology, pulmonary medicine, radiology, nuclear medicine, and pathology come together to evaluate patients with known or suspected lung tumors in a timely and coordinated manner.

The Lung Cancer Clinic offers patients:

  • Evaluation by a team of providers with experience in all aspects of lung cancer diagnosis, staging, and team-based treatment
  • The expertise of the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Conference for consensus treatment decisions
  • Access to the newest standard and investigational therapies
  • Opportunities to meet with a treatment navigator, dietitian, and social worker to discuss concerns or special needs
  • Quick turnaround of reports to referring physicians

Lung Cancer Treatment at Michigan

Offering the Newest in Less-Invasive Technologies

The Thoracic Oncology Program focuses on the care of patients with thoracic (related to the chest) cancers - including lung cancer - as well as research aimed at developing more effective diagnosis and therapy for these diseases. The program is staffed by thoracic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, and nurses dedicated to providing patients with the best possible care.

The team's expertise with emerging technologies, including stereotactic radiosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, photodynamic therapy, esophageal and airway stenting, ultrasound-guided transbronchial/transesophageal biopsy navigation assisted bronchoscopy, and video-assisted thoracoscopy (watch as Dr. Rishindra Reddy describes the surgery in our VATS video), allows for less invasive options in the diagnosis and care of patients with thoracic cancers.

The Thoracic Oncology Program has also developed and participated in numerous clinical trials for patients with all stages of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies using leading-edge chemotherapy agents and radiotherapy techniques.

Lung Cancer Screening Can Save Lives

The sooner a cancer is found and treatment begins, the better the chances are that the treatment will be successful. Screening is the use of tests to detect a disease in people without symptoms of that disease. In people at high risk for lung cancer, screening for lung cancer can save lives. Our lung cancer screening program offers people the chance to understand their lung cancer risk in a personalized fashion using a web-based decision aid developed by University of Michigan experts (www.shouldIscreen.com). This is available in both English and Spanish versions. 

At our Lung Cancer Screening Clinic, we offer people who are at high risk for lung cancer a low-dose CT scan of their lungs. A study we participated in showed that having this screening performed annually reduces the probability of dying from lung cancer by 20%.

People at high risk are between the ages of 50-80 with a heavy current or recent smoking history.

Screening doesn’t tell you whether or not you have a disease. It tells us that you might have the disease. The probability of finding some type of minor abnormality is around 50%. Of that 50%, slightly less than 4% actually have lung cancer. That’s why it’s important the screening is done at a high-volume center with an experienced team who understands when a lung nodule might be lung cancer and when it likely isn’t.

Currently, most insurance companies pay for lung cancer screenings. Medical covers screening for individuals at high risk. However, as screening criteria are changing, it is always best to check with your insurer to see if this service is covered by your health plan.