Lung Cancer Specialists in the Greater Philadelphia Area

Our medical oncologists use the latest treatments to care for patients with lung cancer including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).  Each patient is given a personalized treatment plan and the support they need throughout their cancer journey. 

Knowing the type of lung cancer is important because it affects the types of treatments that will work best. A medical oncologist, like those here at Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology, will recommend a treatment plan based on the lung cancer type, stage, and where it’s located in the lung or in other areas of the body. 

You can depend on our experienced cancer care team to guide you through your lung cancer journey. Learn more about how lung cancers are diagnosed and treated so you can make informed decisions about your care.

Diagnosing Lung Cancer

Many tests are used to detect, diagnose, and even stage lung cancer. Tests are also used to learn if cancer has spread (metastasized) to another part of the body from where it started.

When choosing a diagnostic test the doctor will consider:

  • Size, location, and type of cancer suspected
  • Your signs and symptoms
  • Your age and general health
  • The results of earlier medical tests

In addition to a physical examination and discussion about your family health history, a biopsy is typically performed on the cells extracted from the lungs. The biopsy will determine if there are cancer cells present. The cells are removed in a few different ways including:

Additionally, the following tests are often used to diagnose and stage both small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): 

Stages of Lung Cancer

Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Knowing the stage helps the oncologist recommend the best treatment options for the patient and even predict the prognosis (chances of survival).

After determining a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), additional testing determines if the cancer cells have spread within the chest or to other parts of the body. Information gathered determines the stage of the disease and the treatment plan. 

The staging for small cell lung cancer is different from non-small cell lung cancer. Below are the different stage descriptions for the different types of lung cancer.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Staging

The most common way doctors stage SCLC is by classifying the disease as limited stage or extensive stage:

Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

In limited-stage small cell lung cancer, cancer is found in one lung, the tissues between the lungs, and/or nearby lymph nodes only.

Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

In extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, cancer has spread outside of the lung in which it began or to other parts of the body.

The TNM system is a more formal system used to describe the stage of lung cancer, however, SCLC is almost always staged as a limited or extensive stage, as described above.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Staging

There are 5 stages for NSCLC: stage 0 (zero) and stages I through IV (1 through 4). The stages are as follows:

Lung Cancer Treatments by Type

Factors such as lung cancer type, as well as the size and stage of the tumor, will determine treatment options.


Your CMOH oncologist and care team will use your staging test results to create the most effective treatment plan that will be tailored to meet all of your needs. Treatment for lung cancer can include one or a combination of treatments, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

Different types of treatment are available for patients with lung cancer. Some treatments are standard (currently used treatments), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A clinical trial is a cancer research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with a particular type of cancer. If eligible, patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

Surgery to Remove Lung Cancer

Surgery is most commonly used to treat early stages of NSCLC. While it can be an option for some early-stage SCLC, it is rarely used as the primary treatment since SCLC has usually spread past the lungs at the time of diagnosis.  Lung cancer surgery can involve removing a portion of the lung or the entire lung through procedures including: 

The removal of an entire lobe of the lung

Removal of the portion of the lung where the cancer developed

Wedge resection:
Removal of a tumor and some of the normal tissue around it

The removal of the whole lung

Even if the doctor removes all of the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may remain. Treatment that is given after surgery to lower the risk of the cancer coming back is called adjuvant therapy.

Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. The way radiation therapy is given to lung cancer patients depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. There are two types of radiation therapies:

External Radiation Therapy:

The use of a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.​

Internal Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy):

The use of a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. This is usually done through a bronchoscope— a procedure called endobronchial brachytherapy— but it may also be done during surgery. Prophylactic cranial irradiation (radiation therapy to the brain to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain) may also be given. This is primarily only used for small cell cancer that has moved into the bronchial area.

Lung Cancer Medical Oncology Therapies

Treatments using medication are used to destroy cancer cells. Medications are often given through an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is swallowed (orally).

The types of medication therapies used for lung cancer include: 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy



Find a Lung Cancer Specialist in the Greater Philadelphia Area

The specialists at Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology work with you to ensure you are recommended the most effective lung cancer treatment plan. We encourage you to take the time to evaluate your options and choose the cancer care team you feel the most comfortable with. Contact us today at our convenient locations including Broomall and Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.