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Lung Cancer

Why choose Ochsner Health for lung cancer care?

Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. But at Ochsner Health, we see people, not cases. Our highly experienced, multidisciplinary team is dedicated to doing everything possible to help you fight this disease.

As the largest lung cancer program in the region, we offer the latest, most advanced diagnostic and treatment options, including robotic surgeries, ablative radiation therapy (radiation that destroys a tumor) and targeted chemotherapy. In September 2021, we became the first hospital in Louisiana to offer robotic-assisted bronchoscopy for biopsy of the lung. We also conduct and participate in leading-edge clinical trials to continue to push research forward and develop newer and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat all forms of lung cancer.

In 1939, Dr. Alton Ochsner, one of Ochsner's founders, was one of the first to discover the link between tobacco use and lung cancer. He then dedicated the rest of his life to educating the world on the dangerous effects of smoking. Today, Ochsner has a lung cancer screening program that ensures screening access is available to patients in every region.

Our nationally recognized program has been designated as a High Performing Hospital by U.S. News & World Report for lung cancer surgery, and our radiation department is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

We offer lung cancer programs throughout the region, including in Covington and Baton Rouge. Find a location near you.

At Ochsner, we specialize in treating all types of lung cancer, including:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer. Most lung cancers, about 80% to 85%, fall under this category. Smoking causes about 90% of non-small cell lung cancers. The three most common subtypes include adenocarcinomas, usually found in outer areas of the lungs; squamous cell carcinomas, which typically appear next to airways in the center of the lungs; and large cell carcinomas, which can form anywhere in the lungs.

  • Small cell lung cancer. About 10% to 15% of lung cancers are small cell lung cancer. This type of cancer usually grows and spreads faster than non-small cell lung cancer.

  • Mesothelioma: This type of cancer can form in the lining of the lungs and is frequently linked to asbestos exposure.

We also treat:

  • Lung nodules and masses

  • Pleural effusion (water around the lungs)

  • Other thoracic cancers, such as thymic tumors and mediastinal masses

When you choose Ochsner for lung cancer treatment, you’ll have a team of experts on your side who are subspecialized in lung cancer care. Our multidisciplinary team includes:

  • Medical oncologists

  • Pulmonologists

  • Radiation oncologists

  • Thoracic (chest) surgeons

Every week, the team meets in a thoracic multidisciplinary conference to discuss each patient’s case and collaborate to develop individualized treatment plans. Patients can see multiple specialists in one visit, saving time and the hassle of multiple doctor visits.

The specialists at Ochsner collaborate to determine the best course of treatment for each patient, depending on the stage and type of lung cancer, as well the patient’s personal health history. Options include advanced robotic surgery, which results in better outcomes than traditional surgery, reduced hospital stays and easier recovery.

Treatment options at Ochsner include:

  • Robotic lobectomy. Considered the gold standard for lung cancer treatment, this surgery involves removing the entire lobe of the lung affected by cancer.

  • Robotic lung wedge resection. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the tumor, along with a small wedge of surrounding healthy lung tissue.

  • Robotic segmentation. During this surgical procedure, the surgeon removes a portion of the affected lobe. This procedure removes more than a wedge resection but less than a lobectomy.

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy. This treatment is used most often for people with early-stage lung cancer. Instead of receiving small doses of radiation over several weeks, the patient receives focused high-dose radiation in fewer treatment sessions.

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy. This is a form of radiation therapy that precisely targets a tumor with radiation beams from multiple directions, reducing the likelihood of damaging nearby tissues. With this therapy, the doctor can also adjust the strength of the beams to further limit the effect on normal tissues.

  • Chemotherapy. These medications are usually given intravenously but can also be taken orally and by injection to kill cancer cells.

  • Immunotherapy. This therapy helps train your body’s immune system to fight back against cancer. It can be taken intravenously, orally and in creams.

  • Targeted therapy. A form of precision medicine, this treatment uses medicines that “target” specific cancer cells. This treatment is given orally or intravenously.

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery. We offer the Gamma Knife procedure for lung cancer that has spread to the brain. Gamma Knife delivers a high dose of radiation to a very limited area of the brain while protecting surrounding tissue from the radiation.

  • Single-anesthesia events. In some cases, diagnosis of lung cancer and removal of the tumor can take place in a single visit. Using a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform, the surgeon performs a biopsy. A pathologist looks at the tissue sample immediately, and if cancer is detected, the surgeon then removes the tumor robotically while the patient is still under anesthesia.

At Ochsner Health, it’s important to educate our patients on lung cancer screenings. One of our founding fathers, Alton Ochsner, was the first to discover the link between tobacco use and lung cancer in 1939.

Do you qualify for a lung cancer screening?

  • Are you between the ages of 50 to 80 years old?
  • Are you a smoker, or a person who quit smoking less than 15 years ago?
  • Do you have a smoking history of at least 20 years?
  • Ae you healthy enough to tolerate treatment intended to cure early-stage lung cancer?
  • Are you healthy enough to have a CT or biopsy if we find anything suspicious?

If you answered yes to the questions above, please call us at (504) 842-LUNG (5864) to schedule your lung cancer screening.

You’ll have a dedicated nurse navigator by your side throughout your journey to answer questions, assist in scheduling appointments and provide helpful resources. We also offer an array of support services to help you navigate through treatment and beyond, including:

Support groups and classes are also available for patients and families.


Smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer. Other factors, such as air pollution and exposure to asbestos, can also play a role.

Lung cancer often causes no symptoms until it spreads to other parts of the body. However, early-stage cancers can sometimes cause symptoms in some people. If you have any of the following possible signs of lung cancer, see your doctor:

  • A cough that doesn’t get better or gets worse over time

  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm

  • Fatigue

  • Hoarse voice

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Loss of appetite

  • Pain in the chest that frequently gets worse with deep breathing, laughing or coughing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Wheezing

These symptoms can also be signs of many other, less serious conditions. However, see your doctor about any symptoms that concern you.

An annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening can detect lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. These screenings are recommended if you currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years, are ages 50 to 80, and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years (or two packs a day for 10 years, etc.).

Lung nodules, which are small areas of abnormal tissue, are usually not a sign of cancer. But your doctor might do additional tests if a nodule is detected on a chest CT scan.

Survival rates for lung cancer vary depending on staging, and some people diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer can be treated successfully. At Ochsner, we use advanced technology and the latest treatments to help you beat the odds.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Locations

Ochsner University Hospital & Clinics
2390 West Congress St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Acadia General Hospital
1305 Crowley Rayne Highway
Crowley, LA 70526
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport - Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
1501 Kings Highway
Shreveport, LA 71103
  • Monday – Friday: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
St. Tammany Cancer Center - A Campus of Ochsner Medical Center
900 Ochsner Blvd.
Covington, LA 70433
  • Mon – Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge
17050 Medical Center Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816