Lung Cancer


Lung Cancer Care

When you have cancer, you need a team of support. A diagnosis of lung cancer can feel overwhelming, but you are not alone. We are here for you every step of the way through your journey of diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer treatments have progressed significantly in recent years and survivor rates have increased as a result.

Coordinated Team Approach 

We provide coordinated care that includes the latest treatments in surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Our multidisciplinary thoracic oncology program team of specialists reviews every new lung cancer case and works together to create a personal treatment plan to meet your needs. Our team approach includes you as an active partner in your care. It is our goal for you to be involved in the decisions related to your care and to always know the next step.

We want to help you feel healthy again. In addition to the critical medical treatments you will receive, we offer health and wellness services that treat the whole body and mind, promoting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. 

Learn more about our lung cancer services and what you can expect during your treatment journey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 231-392-8400 or

What is Lung Cancer?

The lungs are a pair organs inside the chest. When you breathe in, the lungs inhale oxygen into the body. When you breathe out, the lungs exhale carbon dioxide out of the body.

Each lung has sections that are called lobes. The lungs are connected to the trachea (windpipe) by tubes called bronchi.

There are three main types of lung cancer. 

  • Non-small cell lung cancer: Most lung cancers – about 85 percent – are non-small cell lung cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are all types of non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Small cell lung cancer: About 10 - 15 percent of lung cancers are small cell lung cancers, also called oat cell cancer. This type of lung cancer can spread quickly, but also responds well to treatment.
  • Lung carcinoid tumors: This accounts for less than 5 percent of lung cancers. They are also sometimes called lung neuroendocrine tumors. Most of these tumors grow slowly and rarely spread.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women.

Risk Factors

Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. However, lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. 


People who have a high risk for developing lung cancer may benefit from low-dose CT scan screenings. This new screening method may help diagnose lung cancer at an early stage when the chance for cure is greater. 

About Our Lung Cancer Screening Program

Munson Medical Center, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital, Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial, and Munson Healthcare Paul Oliver Memorial are part of the Lung Cancer Alliance's Screening Centers of Excellence.

Learn More 

What to Expect


Cancer treatment begins with a diagnosis. Tests may include a mammogram, diagnostic imaging, and biopsy to help your care team determine your type of cancer and develop an individualized treatment plan. 

We understand this phase can be very difficult as you are waiting for answers. Our goal is to move you through the diagnostic process as quickly as possible in order to minimize the emotional strain.

Your Treatment Plan

At the Cowell Family Cancer Center, we provide a personalized and coordinated plan for every person who enters our program. Your treatment plan will be developed by our multi-disciplinary thoracic oncology program (MTOP), a team of specialists in lung and mid/lower (distal) esophageal cancers.

You will first meet for an evaluation with a thoracic surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist. While you take a break for lunch, they will sit down together along with other members of the team to develop a plan of care that is personalized to your needs. 

After lunch, you will meet with the thoracic oncology nurse practitioner who will fully explain the plan and answer your questions. 

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, treatment may include a combination or any one of the following approaches: surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. 

Our physicians provide the latest in treatments. When more complex treatments are necessary, we work closely with specialists across the state and nation.

You also will have the opportunity to meet our supportive care team, including a social worker, financial navigators, palliative care specialist, and a dietitian. 

While you are meeting with your support team, a nurse navigator and intake specialist will schedule appointments for a complete itinerary. You will know your next steps when you leave.

After this initial evaluation, you may be able to receive part or all of your treatment closer to home through the Munson Healthcare Regional Cancer Network of locations

Health and Wellness at the Cowell Family Cancer Center

We believe that everything matters in cancer treatment.

The Health and Wellness Suite at the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City offers space for physical, emotional and spiritual healing through integrative therapies, meditation, exercise, nutrition and the arts. 

Services are available for patients, staff, family members, caregivers and the community.

Services include:

Meet our Care Team

Munson Healthcare has a team of specialists who provide screening, diagnosis, and treatment for lung cancer. Your care team may include:

Thoracic Surgeons: Physicians who specialize in surgery on the lungs, esophagus, chest wall, diaphragm, heart and aorta.

Radiation OncologistsPhysicians with an expertise in the use of radiation therapy for treating cancer. 

Medical OncologistsPhysicians who specialize in using medical methods to treat cancer. Your medical oncologist may diagnose the cancer, choose the appropriate medical treatment method, provide follow-up care, and coordinate palliative care to help ease symptoms.

Cancer Genetics Nurse Practitioner: A registered nurse with advanced education and special training in cancer genetics.

The Cowell Family Cancer Center Support Team

Our care coordination team is here to support you and usually includes a nurse and nurse practitioner who will ensure that your next steps are planned and communicated. 

Our compassionate team also includes a dietitian, a social worker, palliative/supportive care providers, and financial navigators to ensure that your individual needs are addressed. 

For more information regarding Cowell Family Cancer Center services or to be transferred to a regional network facility, call 231-392-8400 and speak with one of our resource specialists.

Availability of support services varies according to the specific regional cancer network location.

Treatment Locations

Cowell Family Cancer Center

You can find treatment and resources for lung cancer at our Cowell Family Cancer Center on the Munson Medical Center campus in Traverse City. This state-of-the-art cancer center opened in 2016 and provides most cancer services including diagnosis, treatment, integrative therapies, follow-up, and supportive care.

Other Locations

Medical oncology follow up visits and chemotherapy may be available to you close to home through our regional cancer network.

Clinical Trials for Lung Cancer

Clinical trials are studies that involve people and are the final research step in a long process that begins with lab research. You may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.

Depending on the clinical trial, part of your care may need to occur in Traverse City.

At Munson Healthcare, we have participated in cancer clinical trials for over 30 years through the National Cancer Institute. This program offers our patients the chance to participate in large, national research trials while remaining at home in northern Michigan.

To learn more about clinical trials for lung cancer, visit these websites or talk to your doctor: