UI Hospitals and Clinics

Lung Cancer Program

Lung cancer: We know it's scary.

But we'll help you every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment, our experts are highly coordinated at every step, with the latest research to deliver the best care for you.

Your lung cancer team focuses on lung cancer only, giving them a deeper understanding of the disease and knowledge of the most effective treatment options. No matter how rare your cancer, we can handle every type of malignancy and type of tumor that other centers in the state rarely see.

Our clinicians are also top researchers on the leading edge of cancer research, always searching for ways to make the best cancer treatment even better. Our clinical trials give you early access to the most recent, advanced treatment options. This may include drugs not yet on the market and other treatments under development that have the potential to increase survival rates and improve quality of life.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • Shorter recovery. Our cancer surgeons are experts in the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat lung cancer, which means faster recovery after surgery.
  • Gated SBRT to the chest: Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is high-dose, short course radiation therapy that targets a tumor as it moves in pace with your breathing. This results in less damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and is done here routinely.
  • Genetics of tumors: We look at the genetics of your cancer cells to find the treatment that will work best for you. This is known as molecular profiling, and it's done primarily in-house, giving you shorter turnaround times and direct access to the experts.
  • Short wait times. The lung cancer team will see you as quickly as possible for your first appointment, often within a few days. Plus, most tests are run in-house, so you'll get your results back sooner.
  • New infusion suite designed with patients in mind. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable, welcoming environment for chemotherapy treatments. Take our virtual tour.

Cancer Care With You in Mind

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa to hold the prestigious designation of being a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which means we are rated in the top 4 percent of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers in the United States. A recent study published in the journal Cancer showed that patients treated at NCI-designated cancer centers have better survival outcomes than patients treated at non–NCI-designated cancer centers.

To be considered a “comprehensive” center means our teams have expertise in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research. Our doctors and staff are on top of the newest developments in cancer research, treatment, and diagnosis.

That means our team of experts will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs — we don’t believe in “one size fits all.”

Our multidisciplinary team is ready to offer all of the services you need for your lung care. We know no one wants to stay in the hospital longer than necessary, so we work especially hard to make sure your treatment options are done on an outpatient basis, allowing you to rest in the comfort of your own home.

Team-based Approach

We bring experts from different fields of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group. Because many patients require more than one form of treatment, our team meets regularly to discuss the best course of treatment and works together to design the best personalized plan for every patient. The team, along with others caring for you, includes radiologists, bronchoscopists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, social workers, pathologists, pharmacists, nurses, and laboratory-based scientists. In fact, the only two general thoracic surgeons in the state practice here. Our team of specialists focuses not just on lung cancer, but on your lung cancer.

The Power of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials is where research meets patient care. A great deal of research is done behind the scenes in laboratories, long before clinical trials can even begin. Clinical trials are research studies that test out the latest treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the wider public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

Vitamin C in cancer treatment
A clinical trial for stage IV non-small cell lung cancer is currently underway, testing high doses of Vitamin C, injected directly into the blood stream, as a cancer therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy. Research has shown that high-dose, intravenous vitamin C essentially weakens cancer cells, making radiation and chemotherapy treatments more effective.

See a full list and learn more about clinical trials at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Support Our Mission

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in the effort to control and ultimately cure cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

Learn More

Watch our educational whiteboard videos below to learn more about lung cancer screening and the stages of lung cancer, as well how CT scan imaging works. See the health library links below to learn more about the types of lung cancer, symptoms of lung cancer, and what to expect from treatment.

Lung Cancer Screening



Lung Cancer Staging



Chest CT Scan Imaging



Radon and Lung Cancer

The state of Iowa has the highest concentration of indoor radon gas concentrations in the nation. Learn about the link between high levels of radon gas in your home and lung cancer, and what you can do to keep your family safe. Learn more about radon and lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Team

Thoracic Surgery

Radiation Oncology

Medical Oncology


Nuclear Medicine



Interventional Radiology

Researcher Scientists

  • Doug Spitz, PhD

Research Nurses

  • Pam Zehr, RN
  • Michelle Arnold, RN
  • Susan Butcher, RN
  • Erin Kauffman, RN
  • Mary Schall, RN