How We Treat Lung Cancer
Comprehensive Treatment for Lung Cancer
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we use the results of your diagnostic testing and tumor analysis to assemble a plan of care designed specifically for your lung cancer. Your treatment will likely include a combination of therapies.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
We use minimally invasive surgical approaches whenever appropriate, resulting in smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster recovery.
- VATS. Until recently, the standard approach for lung cancer surgery was an open procedure called a thoracotomy, which requires a large incision in the chest. At NewYork-Presbyterian, many people with lung cancer are able to have a minimally invasive surgical approach called "video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy" (VATS).
- Robotic surgery. Our surgeons perform some lobectomy procedures using a robotic approach. During the procedure, the surgeon sits at a console and uses controls to operate the various arms and cameras of the robot, which are placed into position by surgical assistants. The surgery robot enables your surgeon to operate with greater magnification of the surgical field and more precision in the use of surgical instruments.
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 centers, where we can monitor your side effects and address your comfort. New advances in treatment include oral chemotherapy (given by pill) that works for certain types of lung cancer.
- 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 prior to surgery.
- Chemotherapy after surgery. A short course of chemotherapy following complete surgical removal of lung tumors is commonly indicated. Your doctors will review with you whether or not post-operative chemotherapy would be advisable in your case and if so, what type of chemotherapy would be best. Targeted therapies. If you have advanced lung cancer, you may be able to receive targeted therapy that takes more direct aim at cancer cells than standard chemotherapy. It works by shutting down certain proteins that cancer cells need to grow. Examples include erlotinib, bevacizumab, crizotinib, and afatinib.
- Immunotherapy. Some patients benefit from treatments that harness the power of the immune system to fight lung cancer. Examples include the drugs pembrolizumab and nivolumab.
Precise Radiation Therapy
NewYork-Presbyterian’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 units feature the latest highly precise radiation delivery equipment.
NewYork-Presbyterian is a world leader in cancer care and immunotherapy. We have a robust research program featuring many clinical trials evaluating new immunotherapies and novel ways of combining immunotherapy with other cancer treatments. The only way patients can access these specialized treatments is through these pivotal clinical trials, which are typically found only at academic medical centers such as ours.
- Our scientists have found that lung cancer attracts circulating immune cells, reprogramming them to support its growth and spread. Understanding how this happens will allow doctors to design treatments that either prevent or reverse these events.
- NewYork-Presbyterian has a strong lung cancer immunotherapy program. Scientists are also investigating genetic mutations that may govern how well a patient responds to immunotherapy such as pembrolizumab. You may receive an FDA-approved immunotherapy for lung cancer (such as nivolumab or pembrolizumab) or be eligible to participate in a clinical trial of an investigational treatment.
Call for an Appointment
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center