Lung Center

A team of Rockford Health System physicians, nurses and therapists – backed by highly advanced new technology and nationally recognized expertise – makes up the Rockford Health System Lung Center. The team approach, using advanced, minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat lung cancer in the early stages, features:

  • Low-dose CT scan screenings of the lungs, provided annually, for people who are at highest risk for developing lung cancer based on their age and smoking histories. The goal is to diagnose lung cancer when it is still in an early stage to improve treatment outcomes and survival rates.
  • Navigational bronchoscopy, performed by the pulmonologists of Rockford Health System, using highly advanced technology. Nicknamed a “GPS system for the lungs,” the electronic probe navigates the pathways of the lungs to locate and biopsy suspicious growths (nodules) even in the outermost branches of the lung. The system can then leave an electronic marker for a surgeon to reach and remove a tumor if necessary. The outpatient procedure is performed without the need for an incision.
  • DaVinci robotic lung surgery, performed by a specially trained cardiothoracic surgeon, utilizing one of Rockford Health System’s two DaVinci robotic surgery systems. Robotic lung surgery has revolutionized lung cancer surgery. For the majority of patients, the surgeon can perform surgery without the need to make a large incision on the chest wall and remove cancerous tumors of the lung and properly stage them. Instead, robotic lung surgery is accomplished with a small number of very small incisions, using surgeon controlled robotic instruments. As a result, pain is greatly reduced and time to recovery is markedly shorter following robotic procedures.
  • A lung program nurse navigator, who helps address the needs and questions of the patient and family members and coordinates the various steps of the screening and diagnosis program.
  • Promotion of smoking cessation. The most successful way to reduce deaths from lung cancer is to help people stop smoking and therefore reduce their risks of developing lung cancer.

Many insurance companies now cover low-dose CT screening for those considered to be at high risk. Additionally, on February 5, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it now provides coverage for low-dose CT lung cancer screening to Medicare recipients who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 55-77 years;
  • No current signs or symptoms of lung cancer;
  • Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs smoked per day by number of years smoked); and
  • Current smoker, or former smokers who have quit within the last 15 years.

 To learn more, talk to your primary care physician.

Rockford Health System has been designated a lung cancer screening center by the American College of Radiology (ARC), which recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest rate for lung cancer.