For self-referring patients and referring providers:
Lung cancer, the second most common cancer in the United States, is the leading cause of cancer deaths across the nation for both men and women.
If lung cancer is found at an earlier stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it is more likely to be treated successfully and has the best chance for cure. Unfortunately lung cancer usually doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms until it is already at an advanced stage, when treatment becomes difficult. Treatment is most effective during the early stages of lung cancer.
That’s why screening is important. Screening is the process of using tests to detect disease that has not yet shown symptoms. Years ago, chest X-rays were used for lung cancer screening, but now a safer and more accurate test method known as low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning is preferred. Lung cancer screening is recommended for people who smoke or used to smoke, but who don’t have any signs or symptoms. LDCT scans performed at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center can detect cancerous growths in the lungs. Research has shown that LDCT screening is 20% more effective than simple chest X-rays in reducing heavy smokers’ risk of dying from lung cancer.
The Lung-LEAD Clinic at UC Davis Health is a specialized clinic dedicated to the early detection of lung nodules and lung cancer.
Screening is recommended for people at high risk of lung cancer. These individuals benefit the most from screening. High-risk individuals typically include:
Get checkups annually — If you fall into the high-risk category, doctors recommended having an annual screening. This helps in early detection, even if you feel perfectly healthy.
If you believe you’re at risk or have questions about lung cancer screening, we encourage you to contact the UC Davis Health Lung-LEAD Clinic. Our dedicated team is here to guide you and provide the best care possible.
Lung cancer can grow slowly for years without showing any symptoms, until it reaches advanced stages.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
Although other illnesses can cause these symptoms, we encourage you to contact your doctor if any of these conditions continue.
Smoking is a known cause of lung cancer. But the condition affects nonsmokers, too. Up who never smoked or who smoked very little receive a lung cancer diagnosis every year.
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, with smokers most at risk. But exposure to secondhand smoke also contributes to lung cancer. Smoke from tobacco products damages cells in your lungs and can turn them cancerous.
Radon, a natural, radioactive gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second-leading cause overall. This natural, odorless gas can seep undetected from the ground into your home and other buildings.
Some people have a gene change (mutation) that makes them more prone to lung cancer. An inherited gene change may run in families. You’re most at risk if a parent or sibling (first degree relative) has lung cancer.
Acquired gene changes also cause lung cancer. This type of gene change occurs over time, usually from exposure to environmental factors like smoking or radon.
Known risk factors for lung cancer include, but are not limited to:
People who think they may be at risk of developing cancer should discuss their concerns with their doctor. Learn about Stop Tobacco Program
Physicians often start with imaging tests, such as chest X-rays and CT scans, to check for lung tumors. You may also get an MRI or a combination positron emission tomography (PET) and CT scan to see if cancer has spread outside your lungs (metastatic lung cancer).
Physicians use the following tests to definitively diagnose lung cancer and determine the type:
After getting a sample, experts in our Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine examine it to determine if you have cancer.
Our specially trained lung cancer physicians are dedicated to patient care. The doctors and medical staff members of our lung cancer team gained their expertise through years of specialized training and dedication to advanced patient-centered care. They include:
Our clinicians remain mindful of family planning concerns and maintain reproduction preservation options for patients whenever possible.
While many of our patients are treated for cancer using standard treatments, patients can be evaluated and enrolled into innovative and cutting-edge clinical trials.
A clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. A new approach that is shown to be effective during clinical trials may eventually become a standard treatment.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center performs several types of treatments for lung cancer.