Lung Cancer Treatments
Our expert thoracic surgeons offer the most advanced, least invasive procedures for removing lung cancer, including:
Minimally invasive lung surgery
Early-stage lung cancer is treated most effectively by surgical removal. Our surgeons remove the malignant area by performing an anatomic resection of lung called a lobectomy. In addition, they sample and remove the adjacent lymph nodes, giving them the most accurate means of identifying whether or not the cancer spread outside the lung.
Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Lobectomy (VATS)
Our expertly trained thoracic surgeons offer the most advanced and least invasive approach to lung cancer surgery, called video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy, or VATS lobectomy. VATS surgery allows them to deliver the same surgical benefit as the traditional open approach, but with less pain, faster recovery, shorter hospitalization, and quicker return to full activities. In VATS, surgeons use three small incisions along with a telescopic camera and specially designed instruments that allow them to perform the entire operation from outside the chest. In contrast to the open procedure, there is no rib spreading or need to fracture the rib to perform the operation. In some circumstances, VATS can be used for a segmentectomy, or wedge resection -- two smaller resections that can also remove the cancer.
Dr. Raja M. Flores, Chair of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, is an internationally recognized expert in VATS surgery for lung cancer. His groundbreaking work, published in 2010, helped establish VATS lobectomy as the gold standard minimally invasive treatment for lung cancer. Dr Flores and his team of thoracic surgeons at Mount Sinai are all experts in their field and have published numerous articles and textbook chapters on VATS surgery for lung cancer.
Our Department of Radiation Oncology offers a full complement of services for patients who need radiation therapy. Radiation therapy involves the delivery of radiation to the tumor while minimizing the dose to normal cells. It is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure, and some cancers can be successfully treated in as few as three sessions.
Treating cancers in the lung requires special expertise because of the many challenges specific to these tumors. For example, normal breathing can cause lung tumors to move during treatment; however, at Mount Sinai, we account for and limit the effects of tumor motion. We also incorporate PET scans to differentiate more precisely the areas of cancer, which must be treated, from the areas of normal tissue, which must be avoided.
Our expert Radiation Oncologists offer the most innovative procedures for treating lung cancer, including:
Stereotactic body radiation therapy
Mount Sinai has an active program in stereotactic body radiation therapy. This technique delivers high doses of radiation to the lung tumor. Scans are taken just prior to treatment and the physician and therapist review them to make sure that the radiation dose is delivered accurately. Recent studies from across the world have shown that this technique can control over 90 percent of cancers treated.
Modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
At Mount Sinai, we also treat most patients with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This is a highly advanced form of treatment which delivers high doses of radiation precisely to the tumor while avoiding critical structures such as the lung and the esophagus.
Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig, Chair of Radiation Oncology, is a pioneer in the development of innovative methods for the delivery of precise doses of radiation to lung tumors during certain points in the respiration cycle. These methods allow him and our team of physicians to increase the radiation dose safely, to shorten treatment, and spare healthy tissue.