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Lung Cancer

Community Healthcare System provides state-of-the-art care for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment for all stages of lung cancer. Our low-cost Lung Screening program helps to detect lung cancer for individuals most at risk, before symptoms appear. With the help of Lung Health Navigators, patients who undergo screening can be guided for further diagnostic testing and assistance with smoking cessation. Our team of specialists from medical and radiation oncologists, to radiologists and pathologists, surgery, pulmonary medicine and other health professionals collaborate through our Tumor Conferences to recommend a personalized plan of care.

Lung cancer treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and new targeted drug and immunotherapies. Our cardiothoracic surgeons perform the three main types of surgery used most often in lung cancer, whether it involves removing part of the lung or the entire lung. The use of Endobronchial ultrasound is the newest option available to diagnose and stage lung cancer without surgery. For radiation therapy, we offer the most advanced options that include stereotactic robotic radiosurgery, brachytherapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). St. Catherine Hospital offers patients access to the Chicago area’s most experienced team in the use of CyberKnife® radiosurgery system, which delivers with great precision high doses of radiation to operable and inoperable tumors.

Treatments such as immunotherapies and molecular testing to identify targeted drugs are changing the way lung cancer is treated today, offering new hope to patients. The Community Cancer Research Foundation is working to bring the advances being made in research around the globe to our patients so they can be treated close to home. Our physicians are involved in national and international research initiatives to further explore highly personalized treatments matched to the unique genetics of each individual. Among the clinical trials available for lung cancer are:

  • The Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials, or ALCHEMIST, is a group of clinical trials for patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer that has been removed surgically. The ALCHEMIST trials involve genetic screening of tumor for specific gene mutations and testing of drugs that target those mutations.
  • The Lung Cancer Master Protocol (Lung-MAP), a clinical trial for patients with advanced squamous cell lung cancer that has not responded to, or has stopped responding to the current standard of care. The trial uses genomic profiling to assign patients to either a new investigational treatment or a more standard approach. The investigational treatments are specifically selected to target the genomic alterations that may be driving the growth of their cancer.

A variety of free supportive services are available through the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster and classes across our hospitals, including mind-body program offerings such as yoga, tai chi, reiki and art therapy. A professionally-led lung cancer support group enables patients and their loved ones to share their unique experiences with others who are coping with a similar diagnosis. A free lending library is also available at the Cancer Resource Centre for patients to check out books, videotapes and use computers to do their own research.