Comprehensive Lung Nodule Clinic

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US, taking more lives each year than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined, and Kentucky has the highest rate of lung cancer in the country. While a growing number of high- risk patients are getting Lung Cancer Screening with low-dose CT scans, most lung cancers are still detected from incidental findings, or accidentally discovered during an evaluation of something else. In fact, most patients with a lung nodule do not have symptoms, including patients with early stage lung cancer.

Our Comprehensive Lung Nodule Clinic offers fast, convenient evaluation of lung nodules and is dedicated to identifying lung cancer in its earliest, most-treatable stages.

What is a lung nodule?

Lung nodules are small masses of tissue or “spots” in the lung that can be malignant (cancerous), although most are actually non-cancerous. Non-cancerous nodules can be from scarring, inflammation or infection. Coal dust and exposure to certain types of fungi commonly found in Kentucky can cause nodules to form as well. Smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk of developing lung cancer, however non-smokers and those exposed to other environmental hazards can also have nodules that progress to an invasive cancer. All lung cancers start with a lung nodule, so that’s why early detection and timely follow-up is critical. 

About our clinic

We know that early detection and treatment of lung cancer is essential for the best outcomes. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million adults will have a lung nodule identified each year, and only 29 percent receive appropriate follow-up care. Our Comprehensive Lung Nodule Clinic uses an evidence-based, streamlined approach to provide you with prompt evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment using a multi-specialty healthcare team. You’ll also have immediate access to Thoracic Oncology and numerous other specialists within UK HealthCare and Markey Cancer Center.

You can expect to be seen within 1-2 weeks of a referral or after calling the clinic. Our thorough evaluation is aimed at detecting lung cancer early while minimizing the number of tests, surgeries or invasive procedures. During your visit, you’ll receive:

  • Detailed inventory of personal health history, including smoking and family history, and potential environmental exposures such as the presence of radon in your home or exposure to hazardous materials at work. 
  • Evaluation and clinical assessment of imaging study (Chest CT, CXR, MRI, abdominal CT, PET scan, etc), and review of prior imaging studies for comparison.
  • One-on-one consultation, including recommendations and referrals for further testing, biopsies, treatment, or referrals, if appropriate.
  • Our clinic will assist with scheduling and coordinating appointments as well as answering any questions or concerns.
  • Integration of lung nodule surveillance or monitoring of ongoing care.
  • Patient education to manage risks and symptoms.
  • We will update referring providers regularly.

Ongoing coordinated care

Our lung nodule coordinator and nurse navigator work with you every step of the way to guide you through the healthcare system and ensure high-quality nodule evaluation based on current recommendations. We offer long term monitoring, scheduling, and tracking of follow-up appointments and scans. 

Many patients will be observed with a periodic series of CT scans to monitor the nodule, while some may require immediate further investigation. A growing or changing nodule can indicate possible cancer, detected only through monitoring. If you are at increased risk of cancer, we offer timely intervention to obtain additional diagnostic testing or biopsy, including state-of-the-art minimally-invasive approaches in Thoracic Surgery, Interventional Pulmonology, and Diagnostic Radiology. 

What happens if I have cancer?

The Comprehensive Lung Nodule Program is part of the Markey Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center. If diagnosed with a malignancy, your evaluation will move smoothly and quickly to the Markey Cancer Center, where we will provide expertise and personalized care and treatment plans suited to your needs and serve as a liaison between you and other specialists, including surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists, and radiation oncologists.

If you have been diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule, call us at 859-257-4488.

Refer a patient

We work closely with referring providers, patients, emergency room departments and radiologists to capture patients with incidental findings. To refer a patient to our program, call our clinic of UK MDs at 800-888-5533.