Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer deaths, and the second most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men and women, behind prostate and breast cancer. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, however, some people who have never smoked develop lung cancer. Unfortunately, lung cancer is most often diagnosed in its later stages. For the best outcomes, it’s important that lung cancer be diagnosed and treated early on in the disease process. Avera’s Comprehensive Lung Program focuses on a patient-centered approach to deliver the highest quality of care through a coordinated plan.
Lung Patient Navigator
Carole Chell, CNP, is the navigator for all patients diagnosed with lung cancer at the Avera Cancer Institute. Carole pioneered the navigation concept at Avera McKennan through the breast program, and has taken her expertise to lead a navigation program for lung cancer patients. Navigators are a constant presence for the patient and family throughout the cancer care journey. She
- Answers questions
- Provides education to help patients understand their diagnosis and pathology report
- Helps patients focus on treatment decisions
- Expedites appointments
- Keeps patients informed of all the resources and support services available to them
Contact Carole Chell, CNP, at 605-322-6991
Smoking Cessation Assistance
You can greatly reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by quitting smoking. Smoking cessation programs are available at Avera. Ask your physician, or call 1-877-AT-AVERA to learn more. Help is also available through the SD Quitline. Call 1-866-SD-QUITS or 1-866-737-8487.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Early lung cancer may not cause any symptoms. Symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Early detection is key to surviving lung cancer, and research shows that current and former heavy smokers who have been screened with low-dose CT scans have reduced their risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent.
Avera’s Lung Cancer Screening Program
Patients may schedule a lung cancer screening by calling 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372). Read more about the screening and our lung cancer program.
Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy®
ENB™ is a state-of-the-art procedure which uses GPS-like technology to diagnose and plan treatment for a lesion located deep in the lung. Read more about ENB.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Because lung cancer is a complex disease, Avera’s multidisciplinary team approach helps cancer experts recommend the best possible treatment plan for each individual. A weekly Multidisciplinary Lung Conference is held to review lung disease and lung cancer cases. Lung cancer patients receive the services of a Lung Navigator who provides one-on-one education and support.
Depending on the stage and type of lung cancer, treatment typically involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Avera’s state-of-the-art treatments include:
- Clinical trials, which give patients access to cutting-edge treatment.
- Genetic testing to determine if a patient would benefit from specific cancer-fighting drugs.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy, also known as radiosurgery, which can improve survival for patients with early-stage, inoperable lung cancer. This therapy delivers a high dose of concentrated and precisely focused radiation to the tumor in three to five treatments.
- Endobronchial high-dose rate brachytherapy may be recommended when a lung tumor is located near the bronchial tubes, and delivers radiation directly to the tumor site.
- Through Avera’s pain management and palliative medicine programs, pain experts work with patients to keep them as comfortable as possible.
- Integrative Medicine therapies including acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, nutrition counseling, and mind-body movement are available to help relieve stress or symptoms.
After treatment, lung cancer patients are connected with resources as they enter the survivorship phase of the cancer journey. Lung cancer patients can take part in A Time To Heal, a support program for all cancer diagnoses.