Detailed and compassionate service for lung cancer treatment and screening
Coughing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, and respiratory infections often come with allergies, colds, and flu. They can also be signs of lung cancer. A “silent killer,” lung cancer doesn’t strike only smokers or ex-smokers. Americans who have never smoked comprise 10% to 15% of lung cancer deaths. In Brooklyn, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
However, the prognosis for lung cancer has significantly improved in recent years. Lung cancer is treatable at all stages, and with newer treatment options, even elderly and frail patients can benefit and maintain quality of life. Maimonides Cancer Center is at the forefront, not only of cutting-edge diagnostic approaches, but of treating lung cancer in all its forms.
What is small-cell lung cancer?
Another important distinction is between non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all cases. Small cell lung cancer, which is much less common, accounts for the remaining 15 percent.
These two main types of lung cancer are named for the kind of cells found in the tumor. But in addition to the fact that NSCLC tumors have larger cells than SCLC tumors, SCLC grows and spreads more quickly than NSCLC. SCLC is also more likely to spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain or bone marrow.
Both types of lung cancer can be addressed using a range of treatment approaches. At Maimonides, our team of specialists will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific situation.
Lung cancer stages and symptoms
As is true of all forms of cancer, lung cancer develops in stages. Understanding the four stages of lung cancer is essential because early detection can be critical to successful treatment.
The symptoms of stage 1 lung cancer can be difficult to detect. This is especially true if the tumor is small. However, some common signs and symptoms include:
- A cough that does not go away
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
It is important to note that other conditions can also cause these symptoms. This is why you must see a doctor if you are experiencing any of them.
The symptoms of stage 2 lung cancer are similar to those of stage 1. However, they tend to be more severe and progressively worsen without treatment. While a stage 1 lung cancer patient may cough up blood, a stage 2 patient will cough up large amounts of blood with frequency, and the above symptoms will worsen over time.
As with stage 1 lung cancer, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. This is why it is essential to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of them.
Although the symptoms of stage 3 lung cancer will include many of the above symptoms, stage 3 may also involve:
- Blueness of the fingernails or lips
- Bone and joint pain
- Brain fog
- Coughing up pus
- Numbness, weakness
- Skin problems
- Swollen lymph nodes
The symptoms of stage 3 lung cancer can also be caused by other conditions, and so as with the other stages of lung cancer, it is vital to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of them.
Stage 4 lung cancer, sometimes called “late-stage lung cancer,” is the most advanced of the four stages. The symptoms of stage 4 lung cancer are similar to those of the other stages, but they tend to be more severe. In addition to the symptoms listed above, stage 4 lung cancer may also involve:
- Weakening and wasting of the body
- Blueness of the skin resulting from lack of oxygen (Cyanosis)
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Neuropathy, numbness, weakness
- Skin problems
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you or someone you care about is experiencing these or other symptoms that might be associated with lung cancer, please contact a Maimonides specialist today.
Lung cancer screening and diagnosis
A quarter of people with lung cancer show no symptoms until it is diagnosed, usually accidentally, and often at a well-advanced stage. The Maimonides Lung Cancer Screening Program provides a low-dose, 5-minute computed tomography (CT) that detects lung cancers at their earliest and most treatable stages.
Patients with insurance are fully covered for lung screening. Maimonides provides limited assistance for those without insurance. To find out if you qualify for a screening please call (718) 283-2059.
The program focuses on high-risk patients without symptoms, who are:
- 50 years or older with a smoking history of at least 20 “pack years” (packs per day multiplied by the number of years you have smoked)
- Currently smoking, or have quit within the last 15 years and feel healthy
The program can also help you if you have:
- A history of other cancers
Family history of lung cancer
- Had exposure to cancer-causing agents such as asbestos, radon, or second-hand smoke
- Lung scarring
Our Rapid Assessment Service offers patients who have concerning imaging results from any provider the ability to see a specialist within two business days and often on the same day. Patients can expect to have the dedicated attention of a team of experts who can provide a consultation and follow-up appointments with the appropriate specialists. Schedule an appointment now by calling (718) 765-2500.
Treating lung cancer at Maimonides
Maimonides provides lung cancer patients the confidence of knowing we offer the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options — including many effective alternatives to major surgery, chemotherapy, and traditional radiation therapy.
With minimally invasive surgeries, patients go home sooner, often without needing rehabilitation or narcotics for pain relief. We offer:
- Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery
- Localized, focused radiation with fewer side effects
- State-of-the-art diagnostics including:
- Navigational bronchoscopy
- Endobronchial ultrasound
- Next-generation sequencing of tumor DNA to guide precision therapy
- Immunotherapy for lung cancer and other kinds of targeted therapies that can replace chemotherapy in some cases to improve effectiveness with fewer side effects
- Access to clinical trials
- Advanced treatment technologies, including:
- Image-guided videoscopic surgery (iVATS) to localize/remove cancerous lesions
- 3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)/stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR)
Why Maimonides is among the best cancer hospitals
Maimonides Cancer Center includes some of the region’s most distinguished experts in lung cancer, who are part of a nationally accredited and award-winning program that has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
Maimonides’s treatment team is made up of multidisciplinary specialists who collaborate on personalized care plans based on each patient’s unique diagnosis. Patients see the same team of providers and other professionals during most appointments. They provide the guidance, support, and expertise necessary to support each individual’s quality of life so that they and their loved ones do not feel alone as they navigate this journey.