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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Lung & Thoracic Cancers

Lung cancer affects more than 200,000 Americans each year. Although cigarette smoking is the main cause, anyone can develop lung cancer.

There are two major types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) arises from epithelial cells and is the most common type. Small cell lung cancer begins in the nerve cells or hormone-producing cells of the lung. The term "small cell" refers to the size and shape of the cancer cells as seen under a microscope. It is important for doctors to distinguish NSCLC from small cell lung cancer because the two types of cancer are usually treated in different ways.

Lung cancer begins when cells in the lung grow out of control and form a lump (also called a tumor, mass, lesion or nodule). A tumor can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A cancerous tumor is a collection of a large number of cancer cells that have the ability to spread to other parts of the body. A lung tumor can begin anywhere in the lung.

Our Experts

Our experts work together in a multidisciplinary team (including dedicated, talented nursing staff and Lurie Cancer Center’s Supportive Oncology Team) to help create a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan and provide you with exceptional support. Get to know our physicians and the many other experts who will play an important role in your care.

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Clinical Trials

The Lurie Cancer Center is typically involved in more than 300 clinical trials at a given time, covering a broad range of subjects that may be relevant to your diagnosis. Browse our clinical trials to participate and help test new treatments.

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Patient Support

We offer a number of services to help patients and their families cope with the challenges of cancer treatment.

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