Lung cancer care in Aurora

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. At The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA), our cancer program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC). We work with you and your family to make the process as smooth as possible while guiding you through lung cancer diagnosis, staging and treatment.

Watch this video to see how The Medical Center of Aurora is detecting lung cancer early through this new advanced AI technology.

For more information about our lung cancer program, call askSARAH at (303) 253-3325 to speak to a registered nurse 24/7.

Why choose The Medical Center of Aurora for lung cancer care?


The Joint Commission - National Quality Approval - Advanced-level lung cancer program

Commission on Cancer Accredited Program: A quality program of the American College of Surgeons - Patient-centered commitment

National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, est. 2008 - Highest standards for breast care

The Medical Center of Aurora is proud to provide our community with a multidisciplinary, team approach to lung cancer care. Our cancer department offers many types of lung cancer screening options with advanced artificial intelligence technologies to help detect lung cancer early. In addition to our lung cancer screening capabilities, our program’s benefits include:

  • Cancer Resource Center for support and education
  • Cancer registry for lifetime follow up
  • Lung cancer nurse navigation to help with support and coordination
  • Radiation therapy services
  • Weekly review of cancer cases with multidisciplinary team
  • Lung Nodule Clinic
  • Access to lung cancer clinical research trials
  • Smoking cessation program

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is when abnormal cells start to form in the lungs. This excess buildup of cells accumulates to form tumors, growths, lumps and tissue masses and can spread to damage other body tissues.

Lung cancer symptoms

A large majority of lung cancers in adults are caused by smoking, however, non-smokers can also be diagnosed with lung cancer. Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in a chronic cough
  • New cough that won’t go away
  • Pain in ribs or chest

People with a previous history of pulmonary diseases related to smoking are also at risk for lung cancer.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?

More than 2,500 Coloradans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be at risk for lung cancer.

  • Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, like cigars or pipes
  • Breathing in secondhand smoke from other people’s cigarettes, cigars or pipes
  • Being exposed to high levels of radon, a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt that can get trapped in houses and buildings
  • Being exposed to some workplace substances, including asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust and some forms of silica and chromium
  • Being a lung cancer survivor, especially if you smoke
  • Having parents, brothers, sisters or children who have had lung cancer
  • Being a cancer survivor who had radiation therapy to the chest
  • Being a smoker who takes beta-carotene supplements

Lung cancer screening

We are a designated Lung Cancer Screening Center with the American College of Radiology. Our goal with lung screening is to identify cancer at an early stage. Without screening, lung cancer may not be detected until a person develops symptoms, at which time, the cancer is much harder to treat.

Lung cancer screening is performed using a CT scan to take a picture of your lungs. CT scans are fast, painless and noninvasive. No medications are given and no needles are used. You can also eat before the exam. Screening is a continuous effort over time, not a single test. An annual scan is recommended for most individuals who meet the screening and risk factor criteria.

Who should get a lung cancer screening exam?

Lung screening is recommend for the following group of people who are at risk for lung cancer:

  • People between 55 and 77 years old.
  • People who have smoked at least an average of one pack a day for 30 years. This includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Those who have symptoms of a lung condition at the time of screening, such as a new cough or shortness of breath, may not be eligible.

Scheduling a lung screening appointment

Call our lung cancer screening coordinator at (303) 338-7120 for more information or to schedule an exam. Most insurance providers cover lung cancer screening as a preventive service for high-risk individuals, but they often require that a healthcare provider order the exam. Contact your insurance provider for questions about coverage. Based on eligibility, our staff will work with you and your to obtain the required physician’s order and refer you to the most convenient screening site. A lung screening coordinator will support you throughout the entire experience and contact both you and your doctor with results to ensure you receive the follow-up care you need.

Navigation bronchoscopy

Early detection of lung cancer is critical. The traditional bronchoscope cannot reach many lung lesions, leading to delays in treatment or the need for more invasive procedures. Navigation bronchoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, plays a key role in successful early diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

The navigation bronchoscopy system works like a GPS tracking system in locating a tumor for biopsy. Through advanced technology and software, the system is able to use natural airway access to reach regions deep in the lung in order to locate small lung lesions for testing and treatment. A biopsy sample is then obtained for testing and diagnosis.

Lung cancer treatment

At TMCA, our surgeons and staff treat the two main types of lung cancer—non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is often treated with surgery alone if it is diagnosed during the early stages, Stage I or Stage II. If the cancer is diagnosed at Stage III, then a combination of treatments may be offered, which can include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. If chemotherapy is recommended, we will test for genetic mutations to perform more precise targeted therapy on the tumor.

Stage IV lung cancer is often treated with chemotherapy alone. In some cases, radiation can be included depending on the extent of the disease and patient symptoms.

Small cell lung cancer

Alternatively, small cell lung cancer (SCLC), in either a limited or extensive stage, is most often treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery does not typically play a role in the treatment of patients who are diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

Each patient is different, reacts differently to treatment and takes a different recovery path. When you entrust The Medical Center of Aurora with your lung cancer care, our oncology team will make sure you have every possible form of support you need during your treatment and recovery.

Lung nodule clinic

Have you been told you have a lung nodule? If so, rest easy because we have a nodule clinic on campus where you can be seen by an expert physician and get your questions and concerns answered.

A lung nodule, or pulmonary nodule, is an abnormal spot that may be seen on an imaging exam. Lung nodules are very common. At least 50 percent of people have lung nodules by 50 years old. Studies have shown that 95 percent of lung nodules are not lung cancer.

Lung nodules are typically caused by scar tissue, an infection, a current health condition or some type of irritant in the air. However, lung nodules can also be the early sign of developing a more serious condition, like lung cancer.

Contact our lung nodule coordinator at (303) 338-7120 to schedule an appointment at our nodule clinic.

The nodule clinic is designed to provide care to patients who receive an abnormal chest diagnostic imaging report with findings of a suspicious lung nodule. Our oncologists in Aurora will provide each patient an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan based on medical history and imaging results. Our hospital’s lung nodule clinic evaluates for both cancerous and benign lung nodules.

A lung nodule, or pulmonary nodule, is an abnormal spot that may be seen on a lung cancer screening scan or other imaging exam. Occasionally, a nodule may be found accidentally through an imaging test for a separate reason, such as a trip to the emergency room after an injury or illness. These are called incidental findings.

Lung nodules are very common. At least 50% of people have lung nodules by the time they are 50, in which 95% of lung nodules are not lung cancer.

Lung nodules are typically caused by scar tissue, an infection, current health condition, or some type of irritant in the air, but can also be the early signs more serious, like lung cancer.

Characteristics of Lung Nodules are:

  • Size: smaller nodules require more minimally invasive follow up exams, while larger nodules may require a PET/CT or biopsy.
  • Margins: the shape of the nodule as it is in contact with normal lung tissue
  • Density: how soft or hard a nodule is
  • Consistency: a nodule may be solid, or it may be non-solid, called a ground glass nodule

Characteristics of lung nodules include:

  • Size—smaller nodules require more minimally invasive follow up exams, whereas larger nodules may require a PET/CT or biopsy
  • Margins—the shape of the nodule and how it is in contact with normal lung tissue
  • Density—how soft or hard a nodule is
  • Consistency—a nodule may be solid or non-solid, also called a ground glass nodule

The lung nodule clinic is located at 1444 S. Potomac Street, #190, Aurora, CO 80012.

Smoking cessation program

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the U.S. Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at The Medical Center of Aurora, through our pulmonary care department, is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our community and is proud to provide a smoking cessation program for our Aurora and greater Denver community.

Outpatient Oncology Rehabilitation Clinic

Our Oncology Rehabilitation Clinic includes a wide range of therapies, including pulmonary rehabilitation, designed to help you build strength and endurance, regain independence, reduce stress and maintain the energy to participate in daily activities that are important to you.

Cancer Resource Center

The Sarah Cannon Cancer Resource Center at The Medical Center of Aurora is a calm and inviting place where our patients can receive support and resources when they or a loved one is faced with a cancer diagnosis. Contact the Cancer Resource Center at:

1421 S. Potomac Street, #315, Aurora, CO 80012
(303) 338-7120

Walk-ins welcome during business hours from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

At our hospital’s Cancer Resource Center, we provide:

  • Cancer screening information
  • Clinical trials information
  • Communication with doctors
  • Community resources
  • Coping with chemotherapy
  • Diet and nutrition consultation
  • Exercise counseling
  • Genetic counseling
  • Support groups
  • Tobacco dependency
  • Wig fittings and hats

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

The Medical Center of Aurora is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally-trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially-trained nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (303) 253-3225 or chat online at