Why Choose Us for Lung Cancer Care?

Physician assistant and patient

A Team Approach to Lung Cancer

Most patients with lung cancer need more than one type of therapy as part of their treatment plan. That’s why having a collaborative team of experts working with you can be so important to your care. At the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, our medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, pathologists, radiologists, and other cancer experts work together every day.

Lung cancer team members Philip Hoffman, MD, Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, Victoria Villaflor, MD, and Philip Connell, MD.

Each week, our doctors come together and discuss their patients, providing their unique input so that the team can develop the most complete care plans. This collaborative approach to treating lung cancer is just one reason why our cancer program is ranked one of the best in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

Better Tools to Detect "Hidden" Cancers

The University of Chicago Medicine has more experience than any other Illinois hospital using the latest, less invasive option to detect lung cancer. This technology, called the superDimension inReach™ System, eables doctors to biopsy some cancers without surgery, allowing patients to go home the same day.

D. Kyle Hogarth, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, talks about the new ways pulmonologists are using bronchoscopy to help detect, diagnose, and treat lung cancer. With new imaging technology, bronchoscopes can spot potentially cancerous lesions and help surgeons navigate the lungs to remove those nodules, if necessary.

Another exciting technique available at the University of Chicago is autofluorescence bronchoscopy. It uses the best kind of light to allow doctors to see very tiny lung cancers and pre-cancers at the earliest, most treatable stage.

In addition, the hospital is home to a 256-slice computed tomography (CT) scan, which can provide highly detailed pictures of the lungs to help detect lung cancer. The University of Chicago Medicine was the first hospital in the state to offer this powerful imaging technology, which can create pictures of up to 350 "slices" of the chest to uncover cancer.

Less Invasive Surgical Options

Our board-certified thoracic (chest) surgeons have experience treating a wide range of patients, including those with the most complex types of lung cancer. They are especially skilled at using the latest minimally invasive techniques, such as video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for early stage cancers. Using VATS, doctors can perform lung surgeries that result in shorter hospital stays for patients, compared with traditional operations.

Many patients can avoid exploratory surgery

Our doctors are also leaders in using minimally invasive techniques to biopsy lymph nodes in the lungs. These biopsies are important in staging lung cancer so that it can be treated appropriately. At the University of Chicago, many patients can avoid exploratory surgery that requires a hospital stay. Instead, their lymph node biopsy can be done as an outpatient procedure, usually completed in less than an hour.

Radiation Therapy Expertise

Our radiation oncology team is one of the best in the country. Doctors at the University of Chicago are experienced using the Trilogy™ advanced imaging system, which is designed to target even very small tumors with a high degree of precision. Some patients may be candidates for a type of radiation that can significantly reduce their number of treatments.

A Home for High-Risk Patients

Preventing cancer is a top priority for cancer experts at the University of Chicago. The hospital maintains the area’s only dedicated clinic for people at high risk for the development or recurrence of lung cancer. The Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Risk Clinic includes pulmonologists, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and thoracic surgeons who share a common goal--to detect lung cancer earlier and improve outcomes for patients.