About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissue of the lungs. The two types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer (the most common, slow-growing form of the disease) and small cell lung cancer (a faster-growing form of the disease that is more likely to spread to other parts of the body). Caused by risk factors that include smoking and asbestos exposure, lung cancer is associated with symptoms such as a cough that lasts for several weeks, discomfort in the chest, difficulty breathing, and hoarseness.
Diagnosing Lung Cancer A person who has symptoms linked to lung cancer or any other tumors of the chest, or believes he or she may be at risk for developing another type of thoracic cancer such as mesothelioma, should immediately seek medical advice. Treatment begins with a precise diagnosis, and the earlier the detection of cancer, the more likely a patient will experience the best outcome possible. Patients who suspect they may have a malignancy, or are concerned because a family member may have lung cancer or another type of thoracic cancer, need and want answers fast. At Mount Sinai, we offer comprehensive consultations by internationally recognized experts and ensure rapid access to needed tests and the most advanced technologies. Our multidisciplinary lung cancer team has been and is consistently at the forefront of diagnostics, which the following:
- Low-Dose Computed Tomography (CT): this state-of-the-art, noninvasive lung cancer diagnostic imaging exam was deemed the best method to detect early lung cancer by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). That declaration confirmed pioneering research conducted by Mount Sinai’s Claudia Henschke, PhD, MD, demonstrating that annual screening with CT can detect up to 85 percent of lung cancers in their earliest, most treatable stages. This life-saving service is available through our Lung Screening Program.
- Molecular Testing: a highly-detailed test of the cancerous tissue’s make-up (including DNA mutations and protein levels) may be conducted, depending on the patients’ medical history and stage of the disease. This analysis can detect gene mutations, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which signals pathways associated with cell growth. The objective of molecular testing is to better target treatment therapies for patients with genetic alterations in the tumor.
- Bronchoscopy: this procedure involves threading a thin tube tipped with a miniature camera through the mouth or nose and into the lungs in order to closely view the airways for signs of malignancy.
- Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS): this minimally invasive procedure typically performed in combination with a bronchoscopy, involves using an ultrasound probe to search for abnormal lung tissue, then using a tiny needle to take a sample of the tissue.
Individualized Treatment for Lung Cancer
Individualized treatment for lung cancer and other thoracic cancers include a broad range of standard, state-of-the-art treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Minimally invasive interventions are preferred whenever possible, and Mount Sinai is renowned for its advancements in this area. These procedures allow for faster recovery times, less scarring, and less pain than open surgery. In addition, we also use treatments like laser therapy stenting, and radiofrequency ablation.