Multidisciplinary Approach to Lung Cancer

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center's thoracic surgeons work closely with practitioners from multiple departments to provide a multidisciplinary program of comprehensive care for patients with lung cancer. All treatment of lung cancer is stage dependent.

The role of the medical oncologist is pivotal in our multi-disciplinary approach to lung cancer. More than simply administering chemotherapy, the medical oncologist is part of a team comprised of thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, pulmonary medicine specialists, radiologists, and pathologists. Often the medical oncologist is the physician who coordinates and tailors the ever-expanding diagnostic and therapeutic options available to each patient. Medical oncologists of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of NYPH/Columbia specialize in treating a wide range of cancers through the use of medical treatments such as chemotherapy, stem-cell transplantation, hormonal and biologic therapies, and gene therapy.

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in the chest, but who are still recommended for surgery, will benefit from chemotherapy given prior to their surgery. The role of chemotherapy, using the many new drugs now available, following complete surgery in less advanced disease is currently under analysis. Your NYPH/Columbia medical oncologist will advise you on all the latest findings that may affect your treatment. To learn about chemotherapy treatment, or medical oncology, at NYPH/Columbia Department of Surgery, click here.

Decisions about each patient's care are made in weekly meetings that combine the expertise of thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, and pathologists. Benefiting from our team approach, patients are offered individualized treatment, which may include preoperative or postoperative multimodality therapy, for example, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in conjunction with surgery. Such an integrated effort has been shown to improve survival from lung cancer.

In addition to providing specific therapies for lung cancer, the lung cancer team is concerned with supporting the patient's quality of life. Therefore, we provide supportive measures such as pain management, anemia treatment, and use of bisphosphonates, as well as other maneuvers to relieve local symptoms. Referrals to the extensive complementary medicine services at NYPH/Columbia are also available.

Moreover, the advent of personalized medicine is changing how we treat patients by employing targeted treatment strategies based on a tumor's specific molecular characteristics. Learn more about how our team is using this approach at Personalized Medicine.

For more information about lung cancer go to American Lung Association.

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