Lung cancer care in Denver, CO

Joint Commission Gold Seal Cancer Care

Swedish Medical Center and Sarah Cannon have teamed up to make it easier to access a large network of lung cancer experts. While we work together on your behalf, you can devote more time and energy to restoring your health. Our program, which is the only in Colorado to earn the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Lung Cancer Care, brings together top providers who meet weekly to discuss each patient’s treatment plan and progress.

Our highly advanced treatments include a robust interventional pulmonology program, which was first in the state to offer robotic bronchoscopy–a minimally invasive tool, which can diagnose lung cancer with minimal impact on the body.

Interdisciplinary team of oncology experts

While advanced technology is critical to providing expert cancer treatment, so are multi-faceted conferences and nurse navigation to ensure the patient has a personalized treatment plan and is supported through every step of their cancer journey. We have a team of experts who meet weekly and care for you from first diagnosis to survivorship and ongoing surveillance to help monitor your health.

Your lung cancer team of experts comprise of:

Lung cancer screenings

Lung cancer screening is performed using a CT (CAT) scan to take a picture of your lungs. No medications are given, and no needles are used. The goal of lung screening is to identify cancer at an early stage.

Lung cancer CT screening is one of the easiest screening exams you can have—it’s fast, painless and noninvasive

Without lung cancer screening, lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat. An annual scan is recommended for most individuals who meet the screening criteria.

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:

  • Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products
  • 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 workplace substances, including asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust and some forms of silica and chromium
  • Being a lung cancer survivor, especially if you smoke
  • Being a cancer survivor who had radiation therapy to the chest
  • Being a smoker who takes beta-carotene supplements

Who should get a lung screening?

Lung screening is recommended for people who are at high risk for lung cancer. If you are 55 to 80 years old and have smoked at least 30 pack years, you are eligible for screening—even if you quit during the past 15 years. Calculate pack years by multiplying the number of packs smoked per day by the number of years smoked. Those with current lung cancer symptoms, such as a new cough or shortness of breath, may not be eligible.

Call (720) 282-8888 to see if you are eligible for a low-dose CT scan screening or to schedule an exam.

Advanced diagnostics and therapies

All of our registered nurses in the inpatient oncology unit have completed the HealthONE oncology core curriculum, which allows them to give chemotherapy. Several nurses have achieved national certification. Additional program highlights include:

  • Lung cancer screening program to help detect lung cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage
  • Lung nodule clinic that provides a team of experienced pulmonologists and oncologists who offer surveillance and treatment options for patients with lung abnormalities
  • Palliative care program available to help staff and physicians focus on the best quality of life for patients with advanced illness
  • Many of our physicians have access to clinical trials for patients with lung cancer through the Colorado Cancer Research Program
  • Cancer research studies available to our patients through the Phase 1 Sarah Cannon Clinic
  • We partner with oncology rehabilitation experts to offer our patients comprehensive rehabilitation to mitigate the development of long-term abnormalities from oncology treatment

Interventional pulmonology

Interventional pulmonology (IP) is a relatively new sub-specialty that provides less invasive options for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, as well as other conditions of the chest. Swedish is at the forefront of this field, providing the first robotic bronchoscopy in Colorado.

Our expert, highly specialized interventional pulmonologist uses minimally invasive tools and advanced techniques to diagnose and treat conditions in the lungs and chest, while reducing the amount of stress placed on the body. This reduces recovery time and improves outcomes. One of the more common interventional pulmonary procedures performed for lung cancer is the robotic bronchoscopy.

The innovative procedure gives the physician extraordinary stability for unrivaled precision to perform the biopsy. This allows us to diagnose lung cancer earlier than ever before with less trauma to the body than other techniques. The physician-controlled robot is specially designed to access difficult to reach areas of the lung through natural openings, like the mouth. When used for lung cancer screening, it supports early diagnosis by sampling tissue from small nodules in hard to reach areas of the lung where previous tools and procedures were unable to reach.

Learn more about interventional pulmonology

Lung nodule clinic

If you are a patient with lung abnormalities found on medical imaging, our lung nodule program is here to help. As a virtual program, the lung nodule clinic connects patients with nurse navigators who collaborate with your entire health care team to help you navigate through diagnosis, appointments, hospital and community resources, treatment decisions and survivorship.

Based on your scan, your nurse navigator will make recommendations for follow-up care—including a specialist referral, if needed—and coordinate the proper care throughout your care journey.

Contact our lung cancer nurse navigator at (303) 788-5166.

    About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

    Swedish Medical Center 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