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Lung and Thoracic Cancer

Find advanced therapies to treat your cancer and breathe easier.

When cancer affects your breathing, as lung cancer and mesothelioma do, your quality of life can plummet. But there are treatments that can help.

Our thoracic cancer team cares for nearly 650 patients each year, treating their cancer and improving their breathing. We specialize in minimally invasive techniques, such as bronchoscopy and robot-assisted surgery to help us diagnose quickly and get you back to your life faster.

Precise treatments

Henry Ford can offer lung cancer patients, like Joan Jackson, new hope in their cancer fight. We offer highly precise stereotactic radiation that targets tumors with accuracy.

What are the types of thoracic cancer?

Thoracic cancer is any cancer of the chest region. These cancers can include:

What are the warning signs of thoracic cancer?

Thoracic cancers may share symptoms similar to those of a cold, flu, or indigestion. If your symptoms don’t go away within two weeks, see your doctor.

Symptoms of thoracic cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing, or a choking sensation when eating
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Persistent cough that won’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss

How will my thoracic cancer be diagnosed?

We will begin the diagnostic process by asking about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. We then may order one or more of the following tests:

  • Physical exam: We will thoroughly examine your mouth, throat, lungs, and chest. We will check your lymph nodes (glands throughout the body that are part of the immune system) for signs of infection.
  • Imaging tests: These tests take pictures of the inside of your body and may include a chest X-ray, CT (computed tomography) scan or bone scan.
  • Biopsy: If something looks suspicious, we may need to perform a biopsy, which is when we take a tissue sample for further testing. We offer minimally invasive methods for sampling tissue that are quick and painless.

The doctor will then use these test results to identify the size of your cancer and whether it has spread. This is known as staging, and it will help determine your treatment options.

Because current and former smokers are at such high risk for lung cancer, we also offer low-cost CT scans to screen for the disease. When we detect the disease early, your chance of beating it increases.

What are my treatment options?

Our tumor board will design a treatment plan that meets your unique health needs.

Along with common cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, your plan also may include:

We also participate in clinical trials to help us understand more about the best ways to treat thoracic cancer. These trials give you access to promising new treatments before they are available to the general public.

Cancer doesn’t just affect you physically. It also can take a toll on you emotionally. We will connect you to support groups so you can talk with others who understand what you’re going through. We also offer a Survivorship Workshop Series to help you cope with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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Clinical Trials

Cancer Institute