Lung Cancer Program

When you trust your lung cancer care to OSF HealthCare, you’ll experience the kind of compassionate care and love that only a Mission-driven health care ministry can provide. Throughout your journey, our team of lung cancer experts will make you feel more than just understood and cared for – we’ll make you feel loved. 

We understand that a lung cancer diagnosis can be scary. We can help you lighten the burden and breathe a little easier with a unique-to-you care plan and a team that will support you before, during and after treatment. 

Our program brings together some of the top experts in the treatment of lung cancer. Our board-certified oncologists, pulmonologists, surgeons, nurses, patient navigators, social workers, counselors, and dietitians are committed to supporting the whole you – mind, body and spirit – throughout your lung cancer journey. 

Lung Cancer Cells BlogLung Cancers We Treat

There are two main types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes up about 85% of lung cancers. NSCLC is grouped by the type of cell in which they started and by how the cells appear through a microscope. There are three types:
    • Adenocarcinoma – the most common type of NSCLC, especially in people who have never smoked. It usually grows and spreads slower than other types and tends to develop in the outer part of the lung.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma – the second-most common NSCLC. It most often develops in the central part of the lung.
    • Large cell carcinoma – the least common type of NSCLC and can develop anywhere in the lungs.
  • Small cell lung cancer accounts for about 15% of lung cancers. It usually grows and spreads more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer. Because it is more aggressive, surgery is used less often to treat it.

Other less common types of lung cancer include mesothelioma, carcinoid tumors and sarcoma.

Treatments We Offer

At OSF, we live on the cutting-edge of cancer treatment, with access to the latest breakthrough clinical trials, technology and a multidisciplinary team of experts. When you receive a lung cancer diagnosis, you can be confident that our team will walk alongside you to answer your questions, determine the most effective way to treat your lung cancer and support you through every step of your journey.

Your doctor will talk with you about your treatment options and customize your lung cancer treatment plan based on the specific type and stage of your cancer. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery – Surgery may be a good option if you have early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Sometimes, chemotherapy or radiation may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor. The surgeon may also remove lymph nodes from the chest. This will help your doctors determine if you need further treatment after surgery. Lung cancer surgery can be performed by open resection or a minimally invasive technique using a camera and small incisions known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Sometimes, the surgeon uses the assistance of a robot to perform the minimally invasive surgery.
  • Radiation therapy
  • Systemic therapy – includes any medications that travel through the bloodstream and affect cells all over the body. Systemic therapy may include:

Your doctor will also talk with you about possible side effects of treatment and whether clinical trials may be included as part of your treatment plan. Your provider will walk through all of the options with you, and you’ll decide on the best lung cancer treatment plan together.

Care Team

When you come to OSF for your lung cancer care, you’ll have access to a full team of professionals who specialize in the specific care and treatment of lung cancer. A multidisciplinary board of clinicians regularly convenes to review lung cancer cases for every patient we treat. This team includes pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and advanced practice providers. The goal is to allow each expert to weigh in and develop an individualized recommendation and staging for your specific cancer, and ensure we move forward with the best treatment plan possible. 

The next step is to meet with your team to discuss the recommendations and treatment plan and answer any questions or concerns you and your family may have. This multidisciplinary team will continue to work together to provide the best, most up-to-date treatment available, making sure you are comfortable with the plan every step of the way. 

Your team may include pathologists and radiologists who work together to help diagnose your lung cancer. Pulmonologists are doctors who specialize in the lungs, and can help diagnose, stage and relieve symptoms caused by lung cancer. Medical and radiation oncologists specialize in a specific type of lung cancer treatment. Our thoracic surgeons have been expertly trained to perform lung cancer procedures specifically and are the most highly qualified surgeons available to manage your specific condition, should you need surgery.

We understand that caring for your health is about more than just treating your cancer. Your care team will also include support from our full network of support services. This includes cancer nurse navigators to help with scheduling and support, diet and nutrition guidance specific to those with cancer, financial navigators, counselors and mental health support, access to a palliative care clinic to help with symptom management, and survivorship resources.


Lung Cancer Screening Blog
How do you know if you have lung cancer?
It’s critical to get screened for lung cancer before symptoms begin. The most effective method is the low-dose CT scan.