Lung cancer can be a very aggressive disease. Early detection is essential. Acting quickly and decisively can make the difference between treatment and a life-limiting situation. UF Health offers lung cancer screenings with a CT scan.
Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?
Many specialists, prompt diagnosis
- To meet the urgent need for prompt diagnosis and care, we created the UF Health Thoracic Oncology Program in Jacksonville.
- With a multidisciplinary approach that involves experts from many different specialties, our program can decrease evaluation time for patients from weeks and months — to just a few days.
Advanced facilities and technologies
In addition, the Thoracic Oncology Program includes the use of proton therapy and minimally invasive thoracic surgery as treatment options, making it a premier choice for patients in the Southeast.
- The University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville offers a powerful way to treat cancer. Proton therapy has the advantage of concentrating energy in one specific area, targeting cancer while minimizing damage to normal surrounding structures. The Thoracic Oncology Program is one of only a few institutions treating lung cancer by this modality.
- In addition, most surgery of the chest (thoracic surgery) may now be performed as minimally invasive procedures, employing surgical instruments inserted through tiny incisions. This is known as Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery, or VATS.
Our areas of expertise
The Thoracic Oncology Program specializes in the treatment of:
- Lung cancer
- Abnormal thoracic growths
- Esophageal (esophagus) cancer
- Mesothelioma (cancer of the lung lining)
- Metastatic tumors of the chest (a cancer that has spread to the chest from another site)
Lung cancer: Symptoms, screening and diagnosis
Most people with lung cancer will present symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing, occasionally with blood. Sometimes in the early stages, however, these symptoms are mistaken for an upper respiratory infection.
- If you are a high-risk person for lung cancer — smoker, family history of the disease, work in an environment with chemicals or fumes, or have previously had lung disease — your physician may suggest a lung screening to detect the disease before advanced symptoms develop.
- The UF Health Jacksonville Thoracic Oncology Program, or TOPS, offers lung cancer screenings using a CT scan. Based on the results, you may be referred to a UF Health pulmonologist for further testing.
- A biopsy or tissue sample is required to confirm a diagnosis and determine the stage of the cancer. Additional imaging may also be done to identify if the cancer has spread.
Lung cancer: Treatment
The TOPS multidisciplinary team — including specialists in thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pulmonology, pathology and radiology — will review your testing results to create an integrated and comprehensive treatment plan for you.
- Based on your condition, your treatment may include robot-assisted thoracic surgery or other surgical approaches, chemotherapy or radiation or a combination of therapies.
- A patient care coordinator serves as a navigator, gathering information for the Thoracic Oncology team and keeping you informed.
- Support is also provided to patients by a group of skilled pharmacists, nurses, social workers and nutritionists.
As an academic medical center, UF Health Jacksonville patients also have access to new cancer treatments and research through the program's extensive affiliation with national and local clinical trials.