Lung and Esophageal Cancer

Lung and Esophageal Specialty Care

Treating Difficult Cancers

No lung cancer is the same and a diagnosis affects each person differently. Developing an effective treatment plan requires input from a variety of specialists.

Your lung cancer team is comprised of specialists who review your specific situation and work together to determine the most appropriate treatment plan, tailored to you.

Lung Cancer Specialty Care at UPMC CancerCenter brings together experts in:

Conditions We Treat

Lung Cancer Specialty Care experts have particular expertise in the treatment of cancers of the lung, including:

  • Lung cancer, small cell
  • Lung cancer, non-small cell
  • Mesothelioma
  • Thymoma


Comprehensive treatment planning

Lung Cancer Specialty Care at UPMC CancerCenter brings together a multidisciplinary team of leading experts in surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pulmonology, pathology, radiology, pain management, and palliative care. Treatment strategies are developed in tandem with referring physicians, and often involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments and clinical trials when appropriate.

Diagnostic and screening services

UPMC's Department of Pathology, one of the leading programs in the country, is an integral part of your multidisciplinary team.

To assist the treatment team in determining the best course for your treatment, pathology experts employ comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluations:

  • Endobronchial ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Detailed radiographic evaluation
  • Bronchoscopic biopsy, or needle biopsy

Thoracic surgeons also may perform a minimally invasive biopsy of the lung lesion.

Surgical services

UPMC surgeons have particular expertise in a number of highly specialized technologies and minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove tumors of the lung, including:

Medical oncology services

Our medical oncologists specialize in the treatment of lung cancer, and offer a full range of chemotherapy and biologic targeted therapies for all types and stages of cancer.

You have access to the latest therapies and clinical trials through our collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), western Pennsylvania's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

When appropriate, you may be placed on a Clinical Pathway, a disease-specific treatment strategy developed by UPMC CancerCenter physicians to ensure that all patients receive the same evidence-based care. Each Pathway combines innovative and promising clinical trial options with the best standard of care therapies. Ongoing review by the clinical team ensures that each Pathway is the best and most effective treatment option available.

Radiation therapy

Patients have access to the largest variety of advanced radiation planning and delivery systems available in western Pennsylvania.

Supportive services

What to Expect

If you are a newly diagnosed patient, you will work with a coordinator who will serve as the point person for the treatment team. The coordinator will review your history and make appropriate appointments based on your needs and your team's recommendations.

You will receive care at Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh.

The center's multidisciplinary lung cancer team will:

Through UPMC CancerCenter's community network, you may be able to receive treatment and follow-up care closer to your home.

To learn more about Lung Cancer Specialty Care, or to schedule an appointment, please call 412-647-2811.

Our Experts

The Lung Specialty Care team has extensive experience in treating lung cancers.

Thoracic Surgical Oncologists

Surgical Oncologists

Medical Oncologists

Radiation Oncologists


Other Members of Our Team

Experts Specialize in
Pain management physicians different techniques to relieve, reduce, or manage chronic pain during and after your treatment
Palliative care therapists relief of the symptoms and stress caused by advanced cancer to improve your quality of life
Pathologists the diagnosis of cancer by examining cells in the organs, tissues, or bodily fluids
Radiologists imaging techniques, such as x-rays, and CT, MRI, and PET scans, to diagnose and treat cancer

Areas of Specialized Treatment for Lung Cancer

Stage III Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer is lung cancer in the lymph nodes along the major tracheobronchial airways or other structures of the chest. Tumors that have spread to the other lung or elsewhere in the body are not considered stage III non-small-cell lung cancer.

The management of this condition requires close coordination between surgical, radiation oncology, and medical oncology physicians to determine the most effective treatment plan.

Medical pulmonary physicians also are involved in the decision-making and your care during and after treatment.

The interaction and multidisciplinary decision-making between the lung cancer specialists at the Lung Cancer Program offers you an important advantage.

You're are afforded the best available treatments and opportunities to participate in promising clinical trials to expand treatment options.

Locally Advanced Lung Cancer

Treating people with locally advanced lung cancer can be challenging because the cancer has invaded the tissues and lymph nodes surrounding the lung. In some cases, tumors may obstruct airways or result in accumulation of fluid, making it difficult for the person to breathe.

Thoracic surgeons at the Lung Cancer Program use endoscopic approaches to relieve airway obstruction and airway bleeding caused by lung cancers.

Using laser and endobronchial stenting techniques, many people may benefit from these procedures.

Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Small-cell lung cancer represents 15 percent of all lung cancers and is almost always related to cigarette smoke exposure. It is often difficult to treat because it tends to grow and spread more quickly than non-small-cell lung cancer.

Although small-cell lung cancer is highly responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, recurrence rates remain high.

To combat these challenges, the Lung Cancer Program offers people multimodality therapies and access to cancer clinical trials, which are continuously investigating novel therapeutics to make progress in the fight against small-cell lung cancer.


Mesothelioma is a malignant disease of the pleural and peritoneal cavities thought to be caused by inhaled asbestos exposure in the environment. Symptoms often include shortness of breath and chest pain.

Mesothelioma is not easily treated with conventional therapies. The Lung Cancer Program offers a multimodality treatment program that incorporates surgical, chemotherapy, and radiation therapies for mesothelioma patients with localized disease.

To improve quality of life and prolong survival, surgical experts at the center are pioneering a surgical and intraoperative chemoperfusion treatment that involves a pleurectomy, a less morbid surgical approach.