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Lung Cancer

Screenings | Diagnosis | Treatment

Each year approximately 226,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. (Source: American Cancer Society)

Known as the “silent killer”, lung cancer can develop without symptoms early in the disease. Most cases of lung cancer are found in later stages in the absence of any symptoms. To help detect lung cancer earlier and increase the chances of long-term survival, we offer lung cancer screenings using low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of the lungs for high-risk individuals.

Are you at Risk?

The following factors can increase your risk for developing lung cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Air pollution
  • Genetics

Accredited by the American College of Radiology

DMH has been designated by the American College of Radiology as a top quality provider of safe, effective diagnostic imaging for individuals at high risk for lung cancer.


If you are at high risk for lung cancer, Decatur Memorial Hospital offers low-dose CT screenings* that can help detect lung cancer – before you have symptoms.

Patients who meet the following criteria are eligible for an annual low-dose CT scan (LDCT) to screen for lung cancer:

  • Have Physician’s referral
  • Are 55 to 77 years old and in fairly good health and have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more
  • Currently smoke
  • Have quit smoking within the past 15 years. No symptoms of lung cancer such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Able and willing to tolerate treatment if lung cancer is discovered

Other screening options include:

Chest x-ray – An x-ray of the organs and bones inside your chest to help detect any abnormalities.

Sputum Cytology – A procedure where your doctor will take a sample of sputum (mucus from the lungs) and examine under a microscope for any cancer cells.

* Now covered by Medicare and most insurance companies.


If you begin to experience any of the following symptoms, contact your physician about setting up an appointment:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Cough that will not go away or gets worse
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the face and veins in neck

Get more information
For questions or more information about lung cancer diagnosis, or to find a lung cancer specialist near you, call the lung navigator at 217-876-2338.
Lung Navigator


To help with diagnosis, your doctor might recommend one or more of the following options:

Comprehensive Lung Imaging Tests:

Physical Exam and Personal History – A general exam to evaluate signs of health including checking for lumps or anything that seems unusual.  Your Physician may also evaluate your past illnesses and health habits including smoking and past jobs.

Laboratory Tests – Procedures that test samples of blood, tissue and urine for abnormalities. These tests can not only be used to help diagnose lung cancer, but can also be used to monitor how you’re responding to treatment.

Chest X-ray – An x-ray of the organs and bones inside your chest to help detect any abnormalities.

Imaging Tests – CT or X-Ray scans can help identify any abnormal masses or lesions present in your lungs. Sometimes a dye may be injected into a vein or given orally to help organs show up more clearly in the scan.

Tissue Sample – A sample of abnormal cells may be removed and examined under a microscope.


At DMH Cancer Care Institute, planning for treatment begins as soon as a lung cancer diagnosis has been determined. Our lung cancer specialists work as a multidisciplinary team to provide individualized care through a personalized treatment approach. Lung cancer treatment may include a combination of therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

We take a team approach to caring for patients with lung cancer. Our multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and navigators work together to provide personalized treatment for each patient. Treatment planning conferences are used to provide patients with a treatment recommendation.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to damage the DNA inside lung cancer cells. DMH’s radiation oncologists prescribe and administer the treatment using the latest technology. The radiation beam is centered on the site of the tumor or any cancerous cells remaining after surgery. While not painful, radiation treatments can cause fatigue or coughing.

Chemotherapy Treatments

There are many different types of medications that can be administered to help control the growth of lung cancers. These medications are prescribed by a medical oncologist, and can attack tumor cells directly or indirectly through control of blood vessel growth or by stimulation of the immune system. These treatments usually follow surgery and radiation therapy.

Lung Cancer Clinical Trials at DMH

The newest treatment options are available to patients through lung cancer specific clinical trials. Cancer Care oncology specialists review clinical trial options with patients during clinic visits.

Get more information
For questions or more information about lung cancer diagnosis, or to find a lung cancer specialist near you, call 217-876-2338.
Lung Navigator


LIFETIME RISK – Approximately 6.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime.

NUMBER OF CASES – Lung cancer represents 13.2 percent of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

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