Lung Cancer Treatments

Lung cancer is a disease whose treatments change rapidly. Your team at City of Hope combines leading-edge technologies — like minimally invasive, laparoscopic and robotic surgery — with the latest targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiological advances.

Surgery

At City of Hope, our experienced thoracic specialists perform advanced procedures not available at other centers — and are among the best when it comes to high-quality, minimally invasive thoracic surgery for lung cancer. We manage one of the largest volumes of thoracic surgeries in California and were the first in our region to offer the robotic-assisted endoscopic Monarch platform, which can safely and reliably diagnose patients with small, peripheral nodules in the lung.

Many of our locations are equipped with the latest advances in surgical treatment options and provide same-day appointments. With locations across Southern California, City of Hope’s premier treatment is available in your community.

Types of Lung Cancer Surgery

  • Lobectomy is the removal of an entire lobe of the lung. This is the most common type of surgery to treat lung cancer.
  • Segmentectomy is the removal of a large segment of a lobe of the lung.
  • Wedge resection is the removal of a piece of lung (smaller than a segment).
  • Pneumonectomy is the removal of the entire lung on one side.
  • Sleeve resection involves removing part of the airway, with or without the lobe of the lung, and sewing the airway back together. This procedure is usually done to avoid removing the entire lung.

 

Approaches to Lung Cancer Surgery

Lung cancer surgery can be performed in several ways:
 
  • Robotic-assisted surgery is also performed through several small incisions. This procedure uses a tiny video camera to view the inside of the chest, as well as robotically controlled instruments that surgeons operate with hand and foot controls.
  • VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) is performed through small incisions. Surgeons insert long instruments and a tiny video camera through the incisions, allowing them to perform the same procedures that would be done in a thoracotomy without having to spread the ribs.
  • Thoracotomy is traditional open surgery, in which a large incision is made in the chest and the ribs are spread in order to reach the lung tissue.
Surgery for lung cancer begins with a conversation about your needs, and continues as a coordinated effort between staff from many different disciplines — from oncologists to pathologists, nurses, radiologists, researchers and support staff — to determine the best treatment for your individual case. Our goal is always finding the most targeted, least invasive way of treating you so that we preserve your lung function and quality of life.

Immunotherapy

Cancer immunotherapy is a treatment that harnesses parts of a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. One way that cancer cells grow out of control is by tricking the immune system so that it does not attack them. Immunotherapy works by helping the body’s immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy treatments work in a variety of ways. Some boost the body’s overall immune response, for example. Others work by injecting manmade versions of immune system proteins to attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs have been approved for treating some types of lung cancer. In some cases, these medications work better than conventional chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, the field of immunotherapy is rapidly evolving. Researchers at City of Hope’s Department of Immuno-Oncology are among the scientists working to develop and test new lung cancer immunotherapy treatments.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy begins with understanding the unique biology of an individual’s cancer, then finding the best treatments based on that biology. With targeted therapy, the medical team will choose medications to target the specific gene changes, or mutations, in a particular cancer.

By analyzing the unique genetic makeup of a tumor, our specialists can design more personalized therapies to block cancer growth. Compared to conventional chemotherapy drugs, medications that target specific mutations often have better response rates. In many cases, targeted therapies are also less toxic to healthy cells, which can mean fewer side effects for patients. Learn more about lung cancer targeted therapies.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy plays a pivotal role in the treatment of lung cancer of all stages and can result in long-term curative outcomes for patients with early stage disease.
 
City of Hope uses leading-edge radiation therapy techniques:

Stereotactic body radiation

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for lung cancer is using cancer drugs to interfere with cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Different drug combinations work in different ways to fight cancer cells.

Learn more about chemotherapy.

Interventional Pulmonology

Combining patient-centered care with expertise and technology at the forefront of thoracic medicine, City of Hope's interventional pulmonology program provides the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic interventions available.
 
City of Hope uses leading-edge interventional pulmonology techniques, such as:
  • Rigid bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial ultrasound with biopsy
  • Robotic bronchoscopy
  • Medical pleuroscopy
  • Photodynamic therapy