Our Regional Cancer Network brings the level of expertise and advanced technology found at Boston hospitals to the Cape. And we combine it with unmatched personal attention to support you and your family through treatment and beyond.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Symptoms result from damage to the lung or other structures near the lung or surrounding tissues. They include:
- Persistent and worsening cough
- Hoarseness or any change in voice quality
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent pneumonia or bronchitis
- Chest pain
These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor.
How Lung Cancer is Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, including smoking, exposure to certain substances and family history of cancer. A variety of tests are used to diagnose cancer, such as:
- Chest X-ray – An X-ray to check for abnormal areas on the lungs
- CT scan – A series of X-rays put together by a computer to create images of the lung. A special spiral or helical CT scan may identify smaller tumors than a regular X-ray.
- Sputum cytology – Examination of a sample of mucus from the lungs
- Biopsy – removal of a sample of lung tissue to be tested for cancer cells. Methods of lung biopsy include bronchoscopy, needle aspiration and thoracentesis.
- Pulmonary function tests – This series of tests is done to see how well your lungs work. This important test provides your doctor with information about what kind of treatments may be appropriate for you.
How Lung Cancer is Treated
Your treatment will be highly customized to your situation, taking into consideration the type, location and stage of cancer. Our Thoracic Oncology Clinic gathers a cross-section of healthcare providers—surgeons, specialists and social workers—who discuss lung and esophageal cancers and determine the optimal mode of treatment. We also collaborate with experts from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Your treatment may involve:
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Jeffrey Spillane, MD, chair of the Cape Cod Hospital multi-disciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic, is skilled in all types of thoracic surgery, including lung lobectomies using the minimally invasive da Vinci® Surgical System. A lobectomy is performed after confirmation of a cancerous tumor to make sure any cancer cells in the lung are removed.
Dr. Spillane's work in minimally invasive surgical techniques has earned him nationwide recognition. In 2004, he was an early adopter of the VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) for lung resection, a procedure that avoids the open (rib spreading) procedure which is still used by the majority of surgeons in this country today.
Since 2011, Dr. Spillane has been performing most lobectomies at Cape Cod Hospital with the da Vinci Surgical System.
He has documented that patients whose surgeries are performed using the da Vinci system lose less blood, go home sooner and recover faster.
As you navigate cancer, you’re not alone. Cape Cod Healthcare offers a full range of support and survivorship services.
Find in-depth information about lung cancer in our online Health Library.