At Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, a multidisciplinary team of doctors including a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist and a surgeon, provide highly coordinated, comprehensive, and compassionate care to those with lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer may be treated first with surgery, to remove the initial tumor.  This treatment may be followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.  These therapies may be given either alone or in combination.

Small cell lung cancer is often treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, given the same time or one immediately following the other.

New therapies, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies, may also be a part of your care, depending on the unique biology of your cancer.

Learn more about the specific treatments for lung cancer and the expert care given at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital below.


Surgery may provide the best chance of a cure for early stage non-small cell lung cancer. At Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, our team of world-renowned surgeons have the expertise and compassionate care to take care of you or your loved ones.

To qualify for surgery, a patient must pass pulmonary function tests.  These will determine whether there will be enough healthy lung tissue left after surgery.  A physician may also order tests to check the function of the heart and other organs, and insure that the patient is in good enough health to undergo an operation.

The type of surgery will depend upon the size and location of the tumor, and how well the patient’s lungs are functioning.  

All surgeries require general anesthesia and normally involve a surgical incision between the ribs in the side of the chest (called a thoracotomy).

Surgery is usually not performed on patients with advanced stage lung cancer.  

A physician may recommend one of these surgical procedures, depending upon the nature of the cancer and the general health of the patient.

  • Pneumonectomy, removing the entire lung
  • Lobectomy, removing an entire section (lobe) of a lung
  • Segmentectomy, or wedge resection, removing a portion of a lobe
  • A Sleeve Resection, removing some cancers lodged in the large airways of the lungs.  
  • During these operations, the nearby lymph nodes are generally removed to check if the cancer has spread beyond the lung.

Patients with more healthy lung tissue tend to do better with more extensive surgery.   Removing a larger portion of the lung generally provides a greater chance of a cure.

More information, can be found here


Chemotherapy limits the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce. Chemotherapy for lung cancer may be given alone, before other treatments, or in combination with other treatments.

For patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the use of chemotherapy has become routine. Our experts use the latest and most effective drugs to treat these types of cancers. The challenge is to find the best combination and sequence of these drugs, and researchers and physicians at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian hospital are leading this emerging science.

Patients with NSCLC that has spread to lymph nodes in the chest, but who are still recommended for surgery, benefit from chemotherapy given prior to surgery. The role of chemotherapy, using the many new drugs now available, following complete surgery in less advanced disease is currently under analysis. Your Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian medical oncologist will advise you on all the latest findings that may affect your treatment.


We know now that we can harness the power of a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Here at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, we are on the cutting edge of immunotherapy research and care. We know how and when to use immunotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments. With our precision oncology initiative, we are also learning to better predict and select the best immunotherapy for each individual patient's biology and unique cancer type.

Targeted Therapy

Using each patient's unique molecular profile, our physicians and researchers match patients to the right medication. By identifying specific mutations or characteristics within each patient's cancer, we are able to identify the drugs that target those areas and are most effective for that individual patient's cancer.

Radiation Therapy

With advanced radiation therapy techniques doctors can better target tumors while reducing the radiation to nearby healthy tissues. Here at HICCC our radiation oncology experts have the ability to provide “state of the art” treatments for lung disease.

Your radiation oncologist will design the optimal treatment plan for you with you that will provide you the best optimal results. Treatment delivery can be daily, weekly, every other day, and or single fraction.

If radiation treatment is recommended, a radiation oncologist will work with our radiation oncology team to create a course of treatment. At Columbia University Irving Medical Center treatment modalities available and most commonly used for this cancer are External Beam Radiation Therapy, 3D Conformal Radiotherapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT), Brachytherapy, Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) and Gamma Knife.