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By Harvey I. Pass, M.D.

We encourage patients and their families to contact the Thoracic Oncology Program at NYU Medical Center, as well as other treatment centers that specialize in lung cancer, in order to compare medical opinions, learn the newest diagnostic and treatment options and come to an informed decision about care.

Treatment is generally suggested after the staging and functional work-up is performed. While options are unique to each patient, common treatments include:

  • Surgery: The lungs are comprised of sections called lobes. There are three lobes in the right lung and two in the left. During surgery, a lobe is removed, along with any lymph nodes that may prevent the tumor from spreading beyond the removed lobe. It is also beneficial to remove a lymph node if the nodes within the lung are involved, from this depends on the stage of the cancer. Primarily performed on Stage I and II cancers where the patient is in good general health, occasionally in cases of Stage III cancer.

  • Radiation Therapy: Primarily used on Stage I and II cancers where the patient's health prohibits surgery, or in conjunction with chemotherapy for Stage III cancers.

  • Chemotherapy: Primarily used on Stage I and II cancers where the patient's health prohibits surgery, in conjunction with radiation therapy for certain Stage III cancers, or with novel trials of molecular therapies for certain Stage III and most Stage IV cancers.

  • Clinical Trials: NYU Medical Center is involved in a number of ongoing protocols ranging from the roles of surgery and radiation therapy in treatment to the new therapies that try to prevent the development of the blood vessels that feed tumors.

Additional treatment options include Photodynamic Therapy, Radiofrequency Ablation, Endobronchial Brachytherapy, and Stereotactic Radiotherapy.