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Your care team

  • Our lung cancer experts work as a team to support your physical and emotional needs. As a lung cancer patient, your care team may include doctors and other health care professionals.


    Your primary care provider guides your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional you should go to about any health concern.

    Medical oncologists coordinate cancer care through the course of the disease. They also prescribe chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs, as well as pain medicine.

    Radiologists use CT scans, chest MRIs, chest x-rays and PET scans to find lung cancer.

    Pathologists work in the medical laboratory, where they examine cells, body fluids and tissue samples for traces of cancer.

    Pulmonologists diagnose and treat lung and breathing problems. They use bronchoscopy to help determine if a lung tumor has cancer.

    Radiation oncologists stop the growth of cancer cells with radiation therapy.

    Thoracic surgeons have special training to operate within the chest cavity. This includes the lungs, ribs, sternum, diaphragm and associated muscles. During lung surgery, thoracic surgeons can remove tumors and tissue from the lungs.

    Palliative care doctors focus on ways to increase comfort and improve quality of life during lung cancer treatment.

    Other lung cancer care team members

    Cancer coordinators meet with patients and their families to provide support and help them navigate the medical system. The same cancer care coordinator can support a patient from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.

    Genetic counselors address concerns about inheriting cancer.

    Healing coaches offer information about and referrals for complementary therapies. While bridging the worlds of mainstream and alternative medicine, they can help address concerns and feelings raised by cancer and assist in developing a healing plan.

  • Cancer care is much more than treating a disease.

    This video covers care coordination, one of the essential components of cancer care at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.

    expand to learn more Read cancer care coordinator video transcript

  • Source: Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
    Reviewed by: Paula Colwell, RN, manager, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Program
    First published: 09/29/2009
    Last reviewed: 09/11/2009