Cancer Care

Lung Cancer Screenings and Care

Do you have a smoking history? Ask your Ascension doctor about having a painless, lung screening test, called low-dose CT lung scan.

Low-dose CT Lung Screening Test

Our lung screening efforts in the Fox Valley can help detect early-stage lung cancer. With our wide range of treatment options, overall outcomes are more likely to be favorable. The low-dose CT lung scan detects tiny nodules, much smaller than what is identifiable on a conventional chest X-ray. 

For information, call the lung screening program at 920-831-0842.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

In Wisconsin, 80 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed after cancer has spread beyond the lung.

According to the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System, lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer death for Wisconsin men and women, more than breast, colon, and prostate combined.  (Source :

Recognize the symptoms and ask your doctor if you are at risk. 

  • Coughing (do not delay if coughing up blood)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness of the chest

While these symptoms also mimic a severe respiratory cold, like pneumonia or bronchitis, our doctors can tell the difference. We diagnosis all types of lung and airway conditions. 

Low-dose CT Lung Scan, a Painless, Simple Test

Even if you stopped smoking but had several decades of consistent smoking in young adulthood, ask if you are eligible for lung cancer screening. The screening test is painless. Many medical studies have shown this type of diagnostic test is more effective in detecting lung cancer than a standard chest X-ray. Conventional chest x-rays are unable to identify a tumor smaller than half-inch in size. The low-dose CT scan provides a more detailed image of the lung compared to a standard chest X-ray.

By comparing (A) chest X-ray and (B) low-dose CT lung scan,
you can see how the CT gives better definition to the tumor and location.

The test is simple. You lie down on the CT scanner bed, and in minutes the test is done. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that people who had a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening are 20 percent less likely to die of lung cancer.  

A lung cancer screening is recommended for adults age 55-77 years with a history of heavy smoking, are currently smoking, or have quit smoking within the last 15 years. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Two Full-service Cancer Centers

If lung cancer is detected, the Ascension cancer care team has proactive treatments that address your long-term needs.

At Ascension, our compassionate and personalized care helps you physically and emotionally. Our radiation oncologists, surgeons, and medical oncologists are highly knowledgeable and experienced at treating all stages of lung cancer. They work closely with the pulmonary medicine (lung) specialists and our cancer care associates at Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus Cancer Center and the Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus Michael D. Wachtel Cancer Center. An outpatient clinic is also available at Ascension Calumet Hospital in Chilton. Lung cancer clinical trials are available through both cancer centers.

Cancer Care Report: Lung Cancer Screening

Since we began lung screening in June 2016, Ascension Northeast Wisconsin Cancer Centers at St. Elizabeth Hospital and Mercy Hospital have successfully screened 411 individuals for lung cancer. Of those 411 individuals, we have detected five positive lung cancers; four of these individuals were diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer, while one adult had stage 3 lung cancer. All were asymptomatic at time of screening. In addition, of the 411 adults, 65 needed to have additional diagnostic imaging due to abnormal lung screens.

Be Smoke Free – Results from Our Smoking Cessation Class

In November 2018, we offered our first smoking cessation class. Five adults successfully completed the 6-week group program. All participants increased their knowledge of overall nicotine addiction and statistics related to tobacco use. They also completed a survey. Overall, all participates reached their individual goals; three were smoke-free at course completion; two were smoking just once a day (self-reporting the last cigarette is the “hardest cigarette to give up”). These two individuals still have a goal to be smoke-free and are working towards that goal. Two of the five participants used nicotine replacement products to help with their cessation. All identified positive group support as a factor in their desire to quit.

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