Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Louisiana. Detecting lung cancer in its earliest stages can mean more tomorrows. Take charge of your health, and learn the facts. Be aware of lung cancer symptoms, risk factors, prevention and early detection.

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Contact your primary care physician if eligible for further screenings. 



  • Age 50 – 80 years
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years (one pack-year = smoking one pack per day for one year; 1 pack = 20 cigarettes)
  • Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Receives a written order for LDCT lung cancer screening


Risk factors for lung cancer include smoking and secondhand smoke, radon and asbestos exposure and pollution. In addition, family history, cancer history and history of COPD or Pulmonary Fibrosis could put you at greater risk. High Risk Status Screenings are recommended for ages 55-74 with a smoking history of 30 pack years or more and less than 15 years of smoking cessation; and ages 50 or older with a smoking history of minimum 20 pack years with at least one additional risk factor other than secondhand smoke.


Some signs of lung cancer may include a cough that does not go away or gets worse, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm), new onset of wheezing or chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing. Other symptoms could be hoarseness, weight loss and loss of appetite, shortness of breath or feeling tired or weak, or infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back.


What happens when you quit smoking?

Patient Stories


“This holiday season will be the best ever because I have so very much to be grateful for,” said Wanda. “In the new year, I want to continue doing what I do best: make people laugh. I also want to travel, dance and fish. I’ve got so much life left to live and with the help of God, Dr. Cataldo and immunotherapy, I’m going to do just that.”

Wanda blog header


Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer, often caused by exposure to asbestos and other hazardous toxins. It can take 40-50 years to develop. The majority of mesothelioma patients begin to exhibit symptoms of this disease with shortness of breath and chest pain.

In diagnosing the disease, patients are x-rayed to detect fluid in the chest. Fluid that accumulates as a result of mesothelioma will usually come back rapidly after being drained. If fluid is detected, biopsies from tissue around the lung will be obtained. Brain MRIs and PET scans can also be a part of the diagnosis process.

Treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (or a combination of the three). Other key aspects of treatment include nutrition, pain management, and psychosocial issues.

Advanced Treatment

Gamma Knife Icon (GKI) is an innovative, noninvasive radiosurgery technology used for treating metastatic lung cancer when tumors have spread to the brain. The first of its kind in the Gulf South, GKI treats only the parts of the brain that need it, sparing healthy tissue and enhancing quality of life. There are no incisions with this treatment and, in most cases, little to no side effects. To learn more about the Gamma Knife Icon, click here.

Disease Site Team

Disease site teams, or multidisciplinary care teams, are specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given, and relevant research is conducted.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human beings in order to test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat diseases. A drug must be part of a clinical trial before the FDA will approve it to be put on the market. Oncology clinical trials are conducted in order to test new drugs or a new combination of drug treatments, new surgery and radiation therapies and new medical devices. Every cancer center patient is evaluated for participation in a clinical trial. Those who meet the criteria to participate in clinical research receive a standard of care treatment, but with the added benefit of a trial that may enhance their outcomes. If interested in volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, or if you have concerns about the conduct of clinical research, please contact the Clinical Research office at (225) 215-1353, or by email at

Additional Support

  • American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society website contains information on many aspects of cancer care geared toward patients and caregivers.
  • Center for Disease and Prevention:  The Centers for Disease and Prevention website provides resources for breast cancer patients.
  • National Cancer Institute: National Cancer Institute is a federal program that is part of the National Institutes of Health. It has resources and information for patients and caregivers which is based on scientific research.