Find your care
At UCLA Health, we take a team approach to lung cancer treatment. We focus on precision medicine, basing our treatment choices on each tumor’s specific genetic or molecular factors. We bring together expert surgeons, lung specialists and lung cancer physicians (oncologists) to create the most effective treatment plan for you.
You’ll partner with a dedicated care team to personalize every aspect of your treatment plan. Our comprehensive treatment includes lung surgery, targeted treatments and access to the newest therapies and clinical trials.
Lung cancer treatment: the UCLA Health advantage
As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center through the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, we treat every type and stage of lung cancer. When you trust UCLA Health with your lung cancer care, you can expect:
Lung cancer expertise: Our lung cancer team focuses only on thoracic (lungs and chest) care. Our physicians are national leaders who help define the guidelines for treating and diagnosing lung cancer.
Nationally recognized care: We offer high-level lung cancer surgery and care. U.S. News & World Report ranks UCLA Health in the top 5 for lung surgery and pulmonology (respiratory care).
Personalized treatment: We test every lung cancer tumor to study its DNA. We use the information to target each cancer with the most effective treatment available.
Remote care: If you live far away, we can handle your pre-surgery workup virtually – you only need to travel to UCLA at the time of surgery. We partner with oncologists near your home who can follow our care plan and treat you locally.
Compassionate support: You’ll find oncology (cancer) nurse navigators and specialized nurse practitioners by your side every step of the way. Our wide range of support services keeps you comfortable during and after lung cancer treatment.
Convenient locations: UCLA Health offers cancer care at more than 25 locations in Southern California. We provide the best care possible, no matter where you live. Find a cancer care location.
Lung cancer treatment at UCLA Health: our approach
At UCLA Health, we look at lung cancer care from every angle, while keeping you at the center of our focus. Our approach and process includes:
Thoracic Oncology Program (TOP) Tumor Board
We bring together a team of experts representing all areas of lung cancer care. This dedicated team, called a tumor board, reviews your diagnosis, medical history and current health. They work together as an integrated practice unit (IPU) to develop a treatment plan based on precision medicine and tailored to your needs.
The tumor board includes:
- Interventional pulmonologists, who diagnose and treat lung conditions
- Medical oncologists, who use medicine to treat cancer
- Pathologists, who read lung and lymph node tissue under the microscope
- Radiation oncologists, who specialize in radiation therapy for cancer
- Radiologist, who read imaging tests
- Thoracic surgeons, who perform lung cancer surgery
Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program (TOP) Clinic
As a patient, you’ll meet with your lung cancer team during our TOP Clinic. We offer the TOP Clinic virtually (for remote patients). You’ll meet with the specialists together as a team and then individually, if needed. The clinic is your opportunity to work hand-in-hand with your care team to understand next steps, discuss treatment options and ask questions.
Lung cancer treatment options
Our lung cancer team develops individualized treatment plans that account for each patient’s lifestyle, treatment goals and symptoms. Your treatment plan may include:
Lung cancer surgery
Thoracic surgeons remove cancer from the lungs using minimally invasive methods and the latest robotic or video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) techniques whenever possible to reduce recovery time. Learn more about lung cancer surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. We offer the most advanced methods of radiation and personalize every treatment. Learn more about radiation therapy for lung cancer.
Medical oncology uses drugs and other agents to find and destroy cancer cells. We test every lung cancer we diagnose to provide the most effective treatment for those cancer cells. Medical oncology treatments for lung cancer include:
We use interventional procedures to provide palliative (comfort) care and treatment options for patients who aren’t candidates for surgery or radiation therapy. Our specially trained interventional radiologists make a tiny incision and use small, hollow tubes (such as catheters and endoscopes) for treatments including:
- Cryoablation, which uses extreme cold to kill lung cancer cells
- Draining fluid, which alleviates shortness of breath
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which heats the tumor to destroy cancer cells
- Removing small tumors, which opens lung airways
Learn more about UCLA Interventional Oncology.
Interventional pulmonology for lung cancer
Lung cancer and its treatment often affect other areas of the chest, including the airways and pleura (layers of thin tissue that cover the lungs and line the chest cavity). Our expert interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons perform advanced, minimally invasive procedures to diagnose problems in the airways and pleura. They provide therapeutic treatment whenever possible.
Lung cancer clinical trials
UCLA Health conducts cancer research that directly impacts patient care. In addition to standard treatment, your care team will offer you the opportunity to participate in clinical trials whenever possible. You’ll have access to new and innovative lung cancer treatment and therapies. Learn more about lung cancer research and clinical trials.