Lung Cancer Treatment Approaches
Our multidisciplinary lung cancer team provides compassionate, leading-edge, personalized care. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, drug therapy or a combination of these treatments. Our clinicians and researchers are also constantly working to develop novel treatments that are more effective against lung cancer with fewer side effects for the patient.

Additionally, our supportive care and long-term follow-up programs to help patients and their families manage the process of treatment and recovery.


For early stage lung cancers, surgical removal of the tumor can often by the only treatment needed. For most patients, a lobectomy (removing the entire lobe of the lung) is recommended, but more limited surgery may be suggested for patients with very small tumors or limited lung function.
Our surgeons specialize in  minimally invasive, robotically-assisted procedures using the da Vinci Surgical System. Robotic lobectomy is done through small incisions and is associated with less pain and quicker recovery compared with more traditional forms of lung surgery, with most staying in the hospital for only two days after the procedure.
For patients with advanced lung cancer, surgery is still a viable treatment option in combination with other therapies. We offer complex procedures including airway surgery, chest wall resection and spine resection that can improve outcomes and quality of life, and City of Hope surgeons have helped patients overcome lung cancer that other health professionals had considered inoperable.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to treat lung cancer alone or in tandem with other therapies. For early stage lung cancer patients, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which uses small beams of high-dose radiation, may be used to treat early stage lung cancer when surgery isn’t an option. This can be due to the patient’s health, diminished lung function, tumor location or other factors.
City of Hope also offers Helical TomoTherapy, which focuses radiation on to the tumor from all directions by using hundreds of beams rotating around the tumor. The radiation can be “sculpted” to fit the exact shape of the tumor, resulting in less radiation exposure in adjacent normal tissue and fewer complications.
For late stage lung cancer patients, radiation may also be used to palliatively to treat pain and other symptoms associated with the disease.

Drug Therapy

Chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs can fight lung cancer throughout the body and can enhance other therapies by shrinking tumors beforehand, making them easier to target, or reducing likelihood of recurrence afterwards.
By looking at the cancer's biological or genetic profile, City of Hope clinicians can determine whether a cancer is vulnerable or resistant to specific drugs. This enables them to plan a treatment regimen that is more effective against the cancer and/or less toxic for the patient.
City of Hope doctors are also on the forefront of developing and studying new drugs, or new combinations of existing drugs, that can better treat lung cancer with fewer side effects for the patient. Many of these promising therapies are available to our patients through our clinical trials program.

Become a Patient

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about becoming a patient or contact us at 800-826-HOPE.