Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Cancer_nonsmall cell lung

Several types of non-small cell lung cancer can attack your lungs, the pleura (the membrane that covers each lung and lines your chest cavity) and the bronchi (the tubes that lead from your trachea to your right and left lungs).

Like most lung cancers, this uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, may be well established before it is detected. From 80 percent to 90 percent of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death for men and women, killing more people than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Your care team

Your lung care team, officially called a multidisciplinary team, is part of University Cancer Care. Most doctors you will see have extensive backgrounds in working with lung patients, giving them invaluable experience in helping you recover.

Your team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, pathologists, nurses, imaging specialists, dietitians, respiratory therapists and other specialists. This team often sees complex lung cancer cases and those in the later stages, which are harder to treat.

The team meets weekly so each member can review your case, recommend treatment and receive updates at several points in your treatment. Team members consider your age, general health and the type, location and how far your cancer has advanced in making treatment recommendations. The team approach goes beyond that weekly meeting. Subgroups, mini-teams if you will, may meet with you or each other at every step in your treatment.

What we do

Your lung care team specializes in treating lung and respiratory cancers. Doctors from around the state often refer complex or late stage cases to this team.

Your team takes other steps to ensure you will recover, too. Your radiation oncologist and his team have the equipment, knowledge and experience to offer complex radiation treatments. Team members diagnose, design a treatment plan for you, treat you and will see you regularly after treatment.

Your pulmonologist can offer interventional pulmonary care, which helps relieve symptoms and makes your life easier. Team members coordinate services and most services are offered under one roof making it easier for you to make and meet appointments. A scheduler will work with you and your doctors to set appointments so whenever possible you can come to one place for all your treatments. 

Help to quit smoking

Specialists with the ACT Center for Tobacco, Treatment, Education and Research also are part of your lung care team. Housed at Jackson Medical Mall, the program, offered free to Mississippians, uses medications and counseling to help you quit tobacco use. Studies show this is the most effective approach to quitting.

The American Cancer Society estimates smoking leads to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. In addition, smoking also can cause diseases of the heart and circulatory system and other lung diseases. At the ACT Center, counselors and physicians with years of experience in tobacco dependence design your treatment to meet your needs, increasing the likelihood you will quit.

Counseling services and medications, all FDA-approved, are free for Mississippi residents, funded by the Mississippi Legislature. You will receive an initial evaluation and will be asked to attend six weekly clinic sessions covering topics such as nicotine addiction, health risks and managing stress. Counselors meet with you for follow up visits for up to a year to help you stay on track and to monitor or adjust your medications. About 100 new clients per month come to the ACT Center and more than half are tobacco free six to 12 months later.

Staff can arrange for you to attend counseling sessions at a satellite center closer to your home if you are traveling to Jackson for cancer treatment. A grant from the Mississippi Department of Health funds the satellite centers. For more information, go to the ACT Web site,, then click on “treatment” or call (601) 815-1180.