Experts in the treatment of lung cancer.

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Getting started

Your treatment begins with your Legacy Cancer Institute doctor recommending a plan based on expert guidelines, called protocols. Your treatment is also determined by:

  • The type of cancer you have:
    • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
    • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is the most common, representing 80 percent of all lung cancers.
    • Lung carcinoid tumors which make up only 1- 2 percent of all lung cancers.
  • The location of the tumor
  • The extent of the disease, called the stage
  •  Any tests you have had during diagnosis
  • A discussion about what is right for you

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Lung cancer treatment options

There are several types of treatment for lung cancer, and many people undergo a combination of treatments. 

  • Surgery is often the choice for those with NSCLC that has not spread. For those with SCLC, surgery is only used when the disease is in its very early stage. Surgery is sometimes used after radiation or chemotherapy to remove tumors that have been reduced in size.
  • Radiation is the use of X-rays or radioactive particles to destroy cancer cells. For lung cancer, radiation is an option:
    • For those who are not a candidate for surgery
    • On more advanced cancers
    • When used along with chemotherapy
    • To help relieve symptoms from cancer that has spread

Legacy offers stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SART, also called stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT), which focuses precise, intense treatment on a tumor, limiting damage to surrounding tissue. 

  • Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill cancer cells. It is usually part of the treatment for SCLC, as well as for more advanced cases of NSCLC.

Talk to your doctor about these and other options for treating lung cancer or if a clinical trial (research study) may be right for you. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care. 

What happens next

Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these issues in the best ways possible.

To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. The tests can also determine if cancer has returned.

Whenever possible, we work to stop cancer. But when we can’t, we can often control it for a better quality of life, often called palliative care.

Working together

Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.
A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs. 

Meet our providers