Advanced lung cancer care in Richmond

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the U.S., claiming more lives than colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The primary cause of lung cancer is smoking tobacco, although anyone, including people who do not smoke, can develop lung cancer from a combination of genetics, radon or asbestos exposure, air pollution or secondhand smoke.

At Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, you receive award-winning care from our experienced lung cancer specialists. Our hospital is:

Lung cancer screening

The goal of lung cancer screening is to identify cancer in its earliest stages when it is more treatable and potentially even curable. Early lung cancer screening is performed when a patient is not symptomatic but is considered to be at a high risk for developing lung cancer. Symptoms associated with lung cancer, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and bloody mucous, may not be apparent until advanced stages.

Who should be screened for lung cancer?

Doctors recommend lung cancer screenings for individuals who meet all of the below criteria:

  • 55 years old to 77 years old, with Medicare, and 55 years old to 80 years old, 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 have consumed with the American Cancer Society’s cigarette calculator.
  • Lung cancer screening requires a doctor’s order. Speak with your primary care provider to learn if a screening test is the right option for you.

What is a low-dose CT scan?

Our 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.

What happens after my lung cancer screening?

The physician who ordered your screening will be notified of the 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 cancer specialists at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital to assist you, if needed.

Lung cancer diagnosis

Following your initial exam and pre-treatment consultation, your lung cancer team at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital may recommend a number of tests to accurately determine the type and stage of your cancer. We utilize the most advanced technologies and medical imaging services to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Our diagnostic services include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT)
  • Thoracic imaging
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Mediastinoscopy/mediastinotomy
  • Thoracentesis
  • CT-guided needle biopsy and needle aspiration

Lung cancer treatment

When lung cancer is detected early, our highly skilled surgeons have a better chance of successfully treating the cancer. Our doctors offer personalized treatment based on your pathology and tumor markers. Tumor markers not only help your lung cancer 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 team of medical professionals treats new and recurring lung, esophageal, pleural, mediastinal and chest wall tumors with the most advanced and minimally invasive technology and techniques, including:

  • 30 Tesla and CT/PET diagnostic imaging
  • Minimally invasive robotic surgery
  • Difficult-to-reach distal lesion access technology
  • Esophageal ultrasound (EUS)
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Thoracotomy (surgery)
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)

We also offer dietary support and pulmonary rehabilitation, all designed to improve your quality of life during treatment.

Lung cancer care team

Your lung cancer care team may include a number of specialists, including:

  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Lung cancer nurse navigator
  • Medical oncologists
  • Oncology chaplains
  • Oncology social workers
  • Pathologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Radiologists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Surgeons

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 both you and your family 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.

Lung cancer support

We integrate education and support throughout our program of care. Patients 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
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation services to help improve your quality of life
  • Support groups to guide you from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and life after cancer

Lung cancer support group

This support group is designed for men and women with lung cancer and meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. in the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute.

Facilitators for the lung cancer support group include:

Smoking cessation program in Richmond

The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. We recognize that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to quitting smoking, but when you are ready to ask for help, we are here for you.

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital offers a smoking cessation program that can help you stop smoking for good in just seven weeks. Quitting now is the best thing you can do to lengthen and improve your life.

Participants in our program are six times more likely to be smoke-free one year after starting our 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.

Our American Lung Association Freedom From Smoking program is offered periodically throughout the year and includes ample group interaction, consisting of eight sessions over seven weeks.

Call (840) 422-2273 to secure a slot in the next clinic. There is a one-time $60 fee due at registration on your first day. For more information, you can contact one of our smoking cessation counselors, Susan Guckenberg, at (804) 200-7033 or, Kim Gardner, at (804) 200-7031.

Lung cancer patient stories

Meet Ava

When Ava was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, she felt overwhelmed and alone. Once she discovered Henrico Doctors’ Hospital and our commitment to providing the best cancer care possible, she felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders. Her care team created a plan she was comfortable with so she could start her journey with confidence.

Meet Annette

Annette’s lung cancer diagnosis was completely unexpected. Luckily she had hope, thanks to her care team at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. Annette is now a cancer survivor and is happy she can keep on living a wonderful life.

Meet Jim

Losing his wife to lung cancer, Jim was proactive in getting a lung screening done. Luckily, his cancer was caught early. Thanks to his team at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, his cancer was successfully removed with surgery.

More lung cancer videos

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally-trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially-trained nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (804) 591-4152 or chat online at