Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. It claims more lives than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Tobacco smoking remains the primary cause of lung cancer, although anyone, including non-smokers, can develop the disease from some combination of genetics, radon or asbestos exposure, air pollution or secondhand smoke.
At Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, you receive award-winning care from our experienced care team. Henrico Doctors' Hospital is:
- A designated Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology
- A Five-Star Recipient for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by Healthgrades
- A Five-Star Recipient for the treatment of pneumonia by Healthgrades
- Proud to be a part of the Virginia Institute of Robotic Surgery, providing our patients with the latest technology and advanced surgical options in Central Virginia
Our program's diverse team of specialists, advanced resources and full continuum of lung cancer care are important qualities that have helped us earn the trust and confidence of our patients and referring physicians.
Because we make it easier for patients to access the care they need by helping them coordinate and manage the various services, referrals and therapies involved in their lung cancer treatment, patients can devote more time and energy toward achieving their most important goal: restoring health.
Lung Cancer Screening
The goal of lung cancer screening is to find cancer early when it’s more treatable and even curable.
Early lung cancer screening is done when a person is not symptomatic but is considered at high -risk for developing lung cancer. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and bloody mucous may not be apparent until advanced stages.
Doctors recommend lung cancer screening for individuals who meet all of the below criteria:
- Between the ages of 55-77 (Medicare) and 55-80 with commercial insurance
- Current smoker or former smoker who quit within the last 15 years
- 30 or more pack year* history of smoking
* A pack year is a way to measure the amount of smoking an individual has done over a period of time. A 30-pack year history of smoking is equivalent to smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years. You can calculate the number of cigarettes you’ve consumed with the American Cancer Society’s cigarette calculator.
Doctors use low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans to screen for lung cancer. These scans are similar to CT scans but use a lower dose of radiation to create the images of the lungs.
Lung cancer screening requires a doctor's order. Speak with your provider to learn if the screening test is right for you.
Your ordering physician will be notified of the screening results. If the results are abnormal, your physician will coordinate the appropriate follow-up appointments and care. You will also receive a letter regarding the results and recommendations for follow up. We have a multidisciplinary team of lung specialists at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital to assist you if needed.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. We recognize there is no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting smoking, but when you are ready, we are here to help.
In just seven weeks, the smoking cessation program at Henrico Doctors' Hospital can help you quit smoking for good. Quitting now is the single best thing you can do to lengthen and improve your life.
A study conducted by Fordham University ranked our smoking cessation program as the most effective program.
Participants in the program are six times more likely to be smoke-free one year after starting the program than those who try to quit on their own. Up to 60 percent of participants report being smoke-free by the end of the program when used in combination with smoking cessation medications.
For more information about our smoking cessation program, please contact our smoking cessation counselors:
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Early detection of lung cancer is critical to achieving the best possible outcome for every patient. After your initial exam and pretreatment consultation, your lung cancer team at Henrico Doctors' Hospital may recommend a number of tests to accurately determine the type and stage (progression) of cancer.
We use the most advanced technologies and procedures to ensure the most accurate diagnosis. Our advanced lung cancer diagnosis services include:
- A radiologist with advanced training in thoracic imaging
- Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
- Minimally invasive robotic surgery
- Thoracotomy (surgery)
- CT-guided needle biopsy and needle aspiration
Lung Cancer Treatment
With early detection of lung cancer, we can make a difference in your survival. Surgeons can treat many early stage lung cancers with advanced surgical techniques.
Doctors also now offer more personalized treatment based on your pathology and tumor markers.
Tumor markers not only help your lung cancer care team choose the appropriate treatment but also predict how well you may respond to treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, your care team will recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. In many cases, we can deliver localized radiotherapy directly to the area of concern.
Our experienced medical professionals treat new and recurring lung, esophageal, pleural, mediastinal and chest wall tumors with the most advanced and minimally invasive technology, including:
- 30 Tesla and CT/PET diagnostic imaging
- daVinci robotic assisted surgery
- Difficult-to-reach distal lesion access technology
- Esophageal ultrasound (EUS)
- Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)
We also offer dietary support and pulmonary rehabilitation, all designed to improve your quality of life during treatment.
Your Lung Cancer Care Team
Your lung cancer care team at Henrico Doctors' Hospital will coordinate with all required specialists to ensure the best care for you. The team consists of:
- Advanced practice nurses
- Lung cancer nurse navigator
- Medical oncologists
- Oncology chaplains
- Oncology social workers
- Radiation oncologists
- Registered dietitians
Comprehensive Lung Cancer Support
The more you know, the better your outcome can be. That's why we integrate education and support throughout our program of care. You benefit from our broad range of services, including:
- Dietitians who can address your changing nutritional needs as you recover from surgery and pursue follow-up treatments.
- A lung cancer nurse navigator who assists with all aspects of your care, from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and beyond.
- Rehabilitation services to help you improve your quality of life.
- Support groups to guide you from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and life after cancer.
If you’re concerned about your type of cancer and your strong family history of cancer, please talk to your doctor about a referral to the Cancer Genetics Clinic.
Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator
When you choose Henrico Doctors' Hospital for your lung cancer treatment, you will be paired with an experienced lung cancer nurse navigator who will offer guidance and support to you and your family.
Your nurse navigator will be with you from the time there is an abnormal finding to the potential diagnosis and throughout your cancer treatment and beyond. Your nurse navigator is specially trained to answer your questions, help you make care decisions, and serve as a resource for your unique needs.
Kim Gardner, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC, has over 20 years of nursing experience. She completed both her Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She has spent most of her career in emergency medicine and cardiology before transitioning to oncology in 2014 to lead the lung cancer program.
As a thoracic navigator, she provides education, support and coordination during a person’s journey with a lung cancer diagnosis. She also is instrumental in leading the lung multidisciplinary biweekly conference to develop the next course of action in the patient’s treatment plan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sports-loving sons.