Medical Oncology

Medical oncologists of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia specialize in treating a wide range of cancers through the use of medical treatments such as chemotherapy, stem-cell transplantation, hormonal and biologic therapies, and gene therapy.

At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, the role of the medical oncologist is pivotal in our multi-disciplinary approach to lung cancer. More than simply administering chemotherapy, the medical oncologist is part of a team comprised of thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, pulmonary medicine specialists, radiologists, and pathologists. Often the medical oncologist is the physician who coordinates and "tailors" the ever-expanding diagnostic and therapeutic options available to each patient.

Therapy for Advanced Non Small Lung Cancer

For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the use of chemotherapy in advanced disease has become routine with the advent of more effective drugs such as Gemzar®, Navelbine®, Taxol®, and Taxotere®. The challenge is to find the best combination and sequence of these drugs, and this emerging science is actively under study.

Patients with NSCLC that has spread to lymph nodes in the chest, but who are still recommended for surgery, will benefit from chemotherapy given prior to their surgery. The role of chemotherapy, using the many new drugs now available, following complete surgery in less advanced disease is currently under analysis. Your NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia medical oncologist will advise you on all the latest findings that may affect your treatment.

In addition to providing specific therapies for lung cancer, the lung cancer team is concerned with supporting the patient's quality of life. Therefore, we provide supportive measures such as pain management, anemia treatment, and use of bisphosphonates, as well as other maneuvers to relieve local symptoms. Referrals to the extensive complementary medicine services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia are also available.

In cooperation with the Division of Oncology, we offer many innovative clinical trials for patients with all stages of lung cancer. Several of these trials are testing the newest drugs against lung cancer and are only available at Columbia University Medical Center. To learn more about clinical research for lung cancer, please click here.