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    More Science, Less Fear

    Lung Cancer

    Diagnosing Lung Cancer

    The American Cancer Society estimates there will be approximately 222,500 new cases of lung cancer in the US in 2017.1

    MSK is engaged in research related to all aspects of care and is pioneering new approaches – including immunotherapy – to fight lung cancer.

    For many people, the first sign that they may have lung cancer is the appearance of a suspicious spot on a chest x-ray or a CT scan. But an image alone is not enough to tell you whether you have cancer and, if so, what type of cancer it is. The specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) can guide you through the process.

    Most people who come to MSK for a lung cancer diagnosis first meet with a surgeon. He or she will work with pathologists, radiologists, and other lung cancer specialists to determine the specific type of lung cancer you have and how advanced it is. These findings help your disease management team develop the most effective treatment plan for you.

    The first step is for your doctor to get a tissue sample using one of several biopsy methods. Then a lung cancer pathologist — a doctor who specializes in diagnosing the disease — studies the tissue under a microscope to identify whether you have lung cancer and, if so, what type.

    Lung Cancer Treatment at MSK

    Lung Cancer Treatment at MSK

    Every person who comes to MSK for lung cancer treatment receives compassionate, personalized care from our expert disease management team. Your team will include doctors, nurses, and other experts whose sole focus is on cancers of the chest.

    Specialists from all areas of lung cancer care will design a treatment plan especially for you. Bringing together experts in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and quality-of-life issues ensures that MSK chooses the combination of therapies that will most effectively treat your cancer and provide you with the best possible outcome. People who choose care at MSK have access to:

    • the experience of a team of skilled surgeons that performs more than 1,200 operations for lung cancer each year, with one of the lowest complication rates in the country
    • new drug treatments and therapies through its program of clinical trials
    • a customized treatment plan using genetic information about their tumor
    • delivery of powerful doses of radiation therapy directly to their tumor through the most precise methods available
    • rehabilitation experts to help manage the side effects of lung cancer and its treatments

    MSK is engaged in research related to all aspects of care and is pioneering new approaches – including immunotherapy – to fight lung cancer. This means that patients at MSK have access to clinical trials evaluating treatment options that are not available in most other hospitals.

    For more information about treatment for lung cancer, please visit

    > Learn More: Search by Cancer Type at MSK

    1. American Cancer Society, "Key Statistics for Lung Cancer,"

    © 2017 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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