Duke’s lung cancer program is nationally recognized for its innovative, aggressive and personalized approach to detecting and treating lung cancer. Our lung cancer experts in Raleigh and Durham treat more patients than any other center in the country. We offer you more treatment options and better care, while striving to improve your quality of life.
Dedicated Lung Cancer Experts
Our nationally ranked lung cancer program can guide your treatment decisions, whether you are newly diagnosed or seeking a second opinion. Our skills and experience come from working only with lung cancer patients every day. Duke Cancer Center is the only place in North Carolina staffed with lung cancer experts who provide surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy in the same clinic, five days a week. Very few centers in the nation provide this level of commitment and service.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we helped pioneer minimally invasive surgery techniques that are now used in medical centers around the country. These treatments are proven to reduce pain and shorten your recovery time. Our goal is to improve your health and well-being as soon as possible.
If you at risk for lung cancer, we use the latest digital imaging technology to screen for and detect lung cancer at the earliest possible stage. These 3-D images show early-stage lung cancers that may be too small to be detected by a traditional chest X-ray.
Choose Duke for your lung cancer treatment because we offer:
- Top-ranked program. Our pulmonology program is ranked among the top five in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.
- Surgical expertise. Because we are international leaders in minimally invasive surgery, we are able to provide treatment options and hope to patients who have been deemed inoperable or incurable by other medical centers. We perform more than 1,600 minimally invasive surgeries every year on all types and stages of lung cancer.
- Lung cancer expertise. Our doctors at Duke Cancer Center work exclusively with lung cancer patients, providing you with personalized care specific to your condition. Diagnosing and treating lung cancer is all we do.
- A team of specialists. Our oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, nutritionists, counselors, pharmacists and nurses meet to discuss each individual case and work together to develop a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan for every patient.
- Direct point of contact. You are assigned a nurse navigator who will be with you at every clinical appointment and help to maintain open communication throughout your treatment.
- Whole body approach to care. We know that treating cancer means treating the whole person — body and mind — not just the disease. We offer a wide variety of educational and psychological support groups, including the Thoracic Oncology Support Group, to help achieve the best quality of life during and after your treatment. Learn more about our cancer support services.
- Access to clinical trials. Every day our researchers are conducting approved clinical trials to develop new treatment options and give more insights into curing lung cancer and improving our patients’ quality of life. You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which help advance treatment guidelines and enhance your care.
- Advanced treatments from decades of research. Our doctors use a large tissue bank and database of patients treated for lung cancer at Duke since 1995. We study why some lung cancer patients respond to treatments better than others in order to reduce your symptoms and treat your cancer. Our medical oncologists have developed several drugs that have received FDA approval. These drugs help improve patient outcomes.
- Comforting environment eases anxiety. Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and an outdoor rooftop garden area where you — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
- Our doctors work with your doctors. If you seek care at Duke and continue your radiation or chemotherapy closer to home, our doctors will coordinate your treatment plan with your doctors. We also provide second opinions and share information with your doctors close to home.
- Advanced training in lung cancer screening. Our board-certified lung imaging specialists undergo advanced training in the early detection of lung cancer and have a wealth of experience detecting and working with the specialists who have experience treating lung cancer.
- Support for you and your loved ones. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our lung cancer support groups in our event calendar.
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We are nationally recognized for treating all types and stages of lung cancer. Our surgeons are international leaders in minimally invasive surgery. No other program has performed as many surgeries or published in more medical journals on lung cancer than our doctors. We take a personalized approach to provide you with the best treatment recommendations and the highest level of care.
Our skilled surgeons focus exclusively on lung cancer, and are trained and experienced in minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgeries employ less invasive techniques to minimize pain, shorten hospital stays and speed up recovery. We are international leaders in lung cancer minimally invasive surgery research, and nationally recognized for offering more options to patients with late-state lung cancer. We perform more than 1,600 minimally invasive surgeries a year, and offer clinical trials to test new therapies and techniques.
Our team uses imaging tools, including MRI and CT scans to view the precise location of the tumor and focus the radiation directly on the target while preserving healthy lung tissue.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. A nonsurgical minimally invasive procedure during which high doses of radiation are delivered to a precise location in the body. Advanced imaging technology is used to determine the size and location of the tumor. The radiation is focused directly at that area, sparing nearby tissues. You may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial that is testing new radiation therapies and techniques.
Medication that kills cancer cells or stops them from growing and are used to treat many types of lung cancer. We consider your specific type of tumor, and assess the risks versus benefits before recommending chemotherapy as part of your personalized treatment plan. We also offer access to clinical trials that are testing new type of chemotherapy.
Depending on the stage of your cancer and your condition, we may also recommend:
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT). A light-activated drug absorbs cancer cells. Surgeons then shine a laser on the tumor to “turn on” the drug which kills the cancer cells. Because PDT has minimal side effects, it can be used as often as needed (unlike chemotherapy and radiation treatments). We were among the first nationwide to successfully use PDT to treat early-stage lung cancer, and have since trained colleagues around the country in the technique.
- Cryosurgery (cryotherapy). Liquid nitrogen freezes and kills abnormal or cancerous cells. Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive procedure and may be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer.
- Ablative therapies. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation and cryoablation are minimally invasive image-guided techniques that utilize extreme heat or cold to kill lung cancer cells. Ablation therapy is typically reserved for patients who are unable to have surgery or undergo radiation.
We conduct more comprehensive imaging tests than most medical centers in the region because they play an important role in detecting and diagnosing lung cancer, as well as developing the best treatment plan. You may be able to see your physicians and undergo these imaging tests on the same day.
Duke's Lung Cancer Screening Clinic offers low-dose CT screening to individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer. Smoking cessation evaluation and counseling is provided as well as follow-up treatment, if needed.
Specialized imaging tests help detect and diagnose your type of lung cancer tumor. These tests include chest X-rays, CT or CAT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans. Imaging studies are performed and interpreted by radiologists who have special training in thoracic and pulmonary conditions, including lung cancer.
Our specialists may also perform a biopsy, removing a small sample of the tumor or fluid in the lungs in order to confirm the diagnosis.