What Do Lung Cancer Doctors Do?
A lung cancer doctor performs lung cancer screenings, diagnoses lung cancer, and creates treatment plans for patients. Some patients may see pulmonologists, doctors specialized in respiratory illnesses and diseases, first to receive their lung cancer diagnosis and staging. Then they will be referred to other lung cancer oncologists for their treatment plans.
Lung cancer doctors may work closely with other lung specialists, including:
- Pathologists who specialize in cell structure of tissues and fluid
- Radiologists who specialize in taking X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
Pathologists and radiologists are sometimes instrumental in providing an accurate lung cancer diagnosis.
When it comes to developing treatment plans, there a few specializations for lung cancer oncologists.
- Medical oncologists, who use chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other targeted treatments for cancer.
- Radiation oncologists, who use radiotherapy or radiation therapy to treat your cancer.
- Surgical oncologists, who treat cancer by removing any visible lung cancer tumors and surrounding tissues.
By working with a lung cancer specialist, patients can get skilled help improving their life expectancy. Unfortunately, lung cancer treatment can cost more than $140,000 without insurance, according to the American Cancer Society.
This high cost can keep too many people from accessing the treatment they need. However, if you were diagnosed with lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos, you don’t have to go through this alone.
Lung Cancer Group can help you get financial assistance so you can work with top lung cancer doctors. Learn how with a free lung cancer case review today.
- Access Financial Aid and Justice
- Learn About Your Options
- Contact Us for Free
Types of Lung Cancer Doctors
There are several types of lung cancer doctors who focus on specific treatment plans. Depending on the type of lung cancer you have and stage it is in, you may see multiple lung cancer doctors.
Medical Lung Cancer Oncologists
Medical oncologists use special drug treatments for cancer. These oncologists can provide chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other targeted treatments for lung cancer.
Medical lung cancer oncologists may be further specialized depending on the particular treatments they use.
Surgical Lung Cancer Oncologists
Surgical lung cancer doctors may also be referred to as thoracic surgeons. They can perform specialized treatments on the chest cavity, including the lungs, heart, esophagus, and major blood vessels of the chest.
These surgeons can treat lung cancer by removing cancerous tissue from your lungs and other chest organs. For example, if you have a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumor in your left lung lobe, they can perform a lobectomy to remove the affected lobe and tumor.
Besides treating lung cancer, they can also treat esophageal cancer, heart cancer, and mesothelioma.
Radiation Lung Cancer Oncologists
Radiation oncologists are specialized in treating lung cancer through radiation therapy or radiotherapy. This treatment uses high-energy rays to target and shrink cancer tumors.
Common radiation therapy treatments for lung cancer include:
- Brachytherapy: Also known as internal or implant radiation therapy, this treatment inserts a sealed radioactive object to a lung cancer tumor.
- External beam radiation: This treatment targets radiation beams to the lungs or surrounding organs to kill cancer cells.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): This treatment also uses external rays, but the intensity of the radiation can be adjusted throughout the session.
Other Lung Cancer Patient Care Specialists
Depending on your health, lung cancer stage and the type of lung cancer you have, you may have other specialists on your care team.
Other lung cancer specialists may include:
- Mental health professionals, who can help patients and their loved ones cope with the emotional aspects of lung cancer.
- Nutritionists or dietitians, who are trained to advise people on their diets to meet their nutritional needs.
- Palliative care specialists, who can perform treatments to ease painful lung cancer symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients.
How to Prepare for a Lung Cancer Doctor Appointment
Preparing for your first appointment with a lung cancer doctor appointment can be a bit stressful. Follow these steps to make the process easier.
1. Write Down Questions and Concerns
Before you do anything else, write down any questions or concerns you have that you want the doctor to answer.
For example, you can ask your lung cancer doctor the following:
- What treatments are best for my stage and type of lung cancer?
- How much experience do you have performing these treatments?
- What lifestyle changes do I have to make if I undergo these treatments?
- What kind of side effects can I expect from treatment?
2. Communicate Your Lung Cancer Symptoms
During the meeting, tell the lung cancer doctor about your symptoms. This will make it easier for them to understand your condition, its side effects, and how to treat it.
For example, if you experience chest pain and a bloody cough, you should tell your cancer care team. Your oncology team will prescribe medicine and offer lifestyle tips to reduce these side effects.
3. Complete Pre-Appointment Instructions
Ensure you have completely followed all pre-appointment instructions before meeting with the doctor. Your lung cancer doctor may require you to bring results from different tests, such as bloodwork or chest X-rays.
4. Ask for Detailed Explanations
During the appointment, ask the doctor for detailed explanations about medications, treatments, treatment side effects, and diet. This will give you a clearer idea of how to live with lung cancer.
If you are uncomfortable with a treatment type, talk through your concerns with your doctor or seek a second opinion.
Seeking a Second Opinion From a Lung Cancer Doctor
You may want a second opinion if you are not comfortable with your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment options.
You can ask for a second opinion any time during your lung cancer diagnosis or treatment. Don’t worry about telling your doctor that you want a second opinion — doing so is common and most medical professionals have no problem with it.
Follow these steps to get a second opinion from another lung cancer doctor:
- Tell your doctor that you are seeking a second opinion.
- Ask for a copy of your medical file, including biopsy samples and test results, to be sent to the second doctor.
- Ask the second doctor to send copies of their opinion to your general practitioner and the lung cancer doctor who gave the first opinion.
- Talk to your first doctor or family doctor about the second doctor’s opinion. If the second doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan is different from the first’s, ask the doctors to discuss their opinions. They may be able to come to an agreement about your lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Benefits of Working With a Doctor for a Lung Cancer Diagnosis
You need to work with top lung cancer doctors following a diagnosis. Without a skilled medical team by your side, your overall prognosis (health outlook) will likely be poor.
Benefits of working with lung cancer doctors include:
- Gaining access to multidisciplinary teams: Top lung cancer doctors often work in cancer centers that have a team of medical professionals across specialties. This allows patients to get emotional support, nutritional guidance, and more.
- Successfully treating or slowing lung cancer growth: Lung cancer doctors have the expertise to treat lung cancer and adjust treatment plans with the goal of extending life expectancy.
Make sure that all the doctors you see have experience treating lung cancer and have the proper credentials and training to help you.
Where to Find Top Lung Cancer Doctors
Finding top lung cancer doctors can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. Some of the best lung cancer doctors work at comprehensive cancer centers and hospitals across the country.
Notable cancer centers with lung cancer doctors include:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- Cleveland Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
- UCLA Medical Center
- University of Colorado Denver Hospital
These hospitals have large grants, well-known cancer programs and clinical trials, and are involved in cutting-edge lung cancer research. They are also known for their state-of-the-art equipment and multidisciplinary cancer care teams.
Get Help Paying for Lung Cancer Treatment
Lung cancer treatment can be expensive, especially if you have to travel to see a lung cancer doctor. This can leave too many families unable to afford the treatment that could extend their life.
Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you afford life-changing treatment if your lung cancer stems from asbestos exposure. We connect lung cancer patients and their loved ones with legal options so they can find financial aid and pursue justice.
Call (877) 446-5767 to learn more about how we can help you.
Lung Cancer Doctors FAQs
What kind of doctor do you need for lung cancer?
Which type of lung cancer doctors you’ll need will depend on your lung cancer type and stage, insurance plan, and overall health. Depending on your treatment plan, you may see multiple types of lung cancer doctors.
Talk with your health care provider for help finding the right specialist for you.
What is the difference between a lung doctor and a pulmonologist?
Pulmonologists are just one type of lung doctor focused on diagnosing and treating respiratory illnesses and diseases. There are many other lung cancer doctors that aren’t pulmonologists who can also help you.
Some types of lung cancer doctors include:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Surgical oncologists
What is the best cancer hospital for lung cancer?
The best hospital for lung cancer depends on your lung cancer type and stage as well as where you live.
Some top hospital options include:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- Cleveland Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
You may need to travel to receive your cancer treatment, and unfortunately insurance providers might not cover travel costs. Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access financial assistance. Contact us today to see if you are eligible.
Can working with a lung cancer doctor improve my prognosis?
Yes, working with a lung cancer doctor can possibly improve your prognosis (expected health outcome).
Doctors can analyze your lung cancer and create a customized treatment plan to hopefully increase your life expectancy and quality of life.