Lung and Pleural Cancers

At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, we offer a multidisciplinary approach to lung and pleural cancer care, including prevention and early detection, assessment of people at high risk for the disease, genetic testing, and the latest and most promising treatments. Our expert providers offer treatments for lung cancer that were out of reach just a decade ago. You can receive comprehensive world-class cancer care right here in Brooklyn, without having to travel to Manhattan.

A Team of Lung Cancer Experts

Your team consists of interventional pulmonologists, medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, oncology nurses, and respiratory therapists who work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs. Together they treat all types and stages of lung cancer, including non-small cell carcinomas (such as adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma), small cell lung cancer, and mediastinal and pleural tumors, including thymoma and mesothelioma. Your providers meet regularly to discuss your care and make sure you are receiving the most effective therapies.

Finding Lung Cancer Earlier

With the advent of lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scanning in people with a history of smoking, more tumors are being found earlier, when they are small. NYP Brooklyn Methodist has the largest lung cancer screening program in Brooklyn: the Fred L. Mazzilli Lung Cancer Screening Program. If you have an abnormal test result, we will connect you with the other members of our care team for further evaluation and treatment, if necessary—all in one location. To arrange for lung cancer screening, please call 718-780-LUNG (718-780-5864).

Advanced Lung Cancer Diagnosis

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital was one of the first hospitals in New York to offer interventional pulmonology, a minimally invasive approach to diagnosing and treating lung disorders. Our interventional pulmonologists use an approach called navigational bronchoscopy to locate, biopsy, and sometimes treat small and hard-to-reach lung tumors. This procedure combines electromagnetic navigational techniques with CT and ultrasound images, spares you from more invasive diagnostic surgical approaches, and can be done on an outpatient basis. We also use endobronchial ultrasound to identify and biopsy central lymph nodes in the chest to see if they contain cancer cells. Guided by real-time medical imaging, these procedures provide doctors with better access to tissues that will be analyzed for cancer cells, making it easier to reach even the smallest tumors deep inside the lungs.

Minimally Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery

Most of the thoracic surgeries performed at our hospital are for lung cancer, so our thoracic surgeons have exceptional experience in this area. Many patients can have lung cancer surgery using a minimally invasive approach called "video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery" (VATS) to remove the affected lobe of the lung. Patients who have VATS typically experience a shorter hospital stay, more rapid improvement of breathing function, and less postoperative discomfort than those who have open surgery. Some lung cancer surgeries can be performed using a robotic approach. During the procedure, the surgeon sits at a console, viewing the surgical field through the robot's "vision system." The surgeon uses controls to operate the various arms and cameras of the robot, which are placed into position by surgical assistants. Using the robot, the surgeon can operate with greater magnification of the surgical field and more precision in the use of instruments.

Precision Medicine

We analyze your tumor for its genetic features to discover your cancer's unique "fingerprint." The information we learn can help us choose therapies that may target the molecules driving the growth of your cancer. This "precision medicine" approach is revolutionizing the care of people with all types of cancer.

The Latest Chemotherapy Drugs

You may receive chemotherapy alone or in combination with other therapies such as radiation and surgery. We give intravenous chemotherapies in our warm, supportive infusion center, where we can monitor your side effects and address your comfort.

  • Presurgical chemotherapy. Patients with non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in the chest and who are referred for surgery may benefit from chemotherapy given before surgery, shrinking the tumor and making it easier to remove.
  • Chemotherapy after surgery. Many patients receive chemotherapy after surgery for lung cancer. Your doctor will let you know if chemotherapy is necessary, and if so, what type is likely to be most effective.
  • Targeted therapies. If you have lung cancer with certain biological features, you may be able to receive targeted therapy which works by shutting down certain proteins that cancer cells need to grow. Examples include erlotinib, crizotinib, and afatinib—oral medications that you can take by mouth at home.
  • Immunotherapy. Some patients benefit from treatments that harness the power of the immune system to fight lung cancer, such as the drugs pembrolizumab and nivolumab. We provide immunotherapy for lung cancer in our infusion center and are very experienced in its use.

Precise Radiation Therapy

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist's radiation oncologists use 3D imagery to deliver radiation to lung cancer cells while reducing radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue. This approach allows us to treat tumors that in the past may have been too close to vital organs. We sometimes use radiation in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Our radiation therapy center features the latest highly precise radiation delivery equipment.

Expertise in the Treatment of Mesothelioma

The thoracic surgeons and oncologists at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist have more experience than many doctors treating people with pleural mesothelioma, a tumor of the lung lining caused by asbestos. We bring together our experts in interventional pulmonology, medical oncology, thoracic surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and other fields to customize the treatment plan best suited to meet your needs.

Relieving Your Symptoms

Individuals with lung cancer often experience airway blockages or fluid around the lungs that cause significant shortness of breath, limiting their ability to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Our interventional pulmonologists offer supportive treatments to drain fluid from your lungs (pleural effusions) and open up airway blockages, sometimes in conjunction with targeted radiation therapy, to ease your breathing. Because most interventional pulmonology services are performed on an outpatient basis, patients recover quickly and can more easily continue their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Many patients with advanced cancer and pleural effusions are able to manage the catheters that drain lung fluid on their own, in their homes, sparing them from repeated visits to the clinic.

Treating All of You

To support your quality of life, we offer palliative care, which includes services such as pain management. Nutritionists, social workers, rehabilitation therapists, and others will help you and your loved ones address the effects of cancer and its treatment—physical, emotional, and spiritual. We understand the burden cancer can place on your life and the lives of your loved ones, and we do whatever we can to lessen that burden.

Access to Clinical Trials

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist participates in clinical studies evaluating novel treatments to advance the care of people with lung cancer, especially those whose disease does not respond well to standard therapies. Your doctor will let you know if you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial of a promising new therapy.