Our Approach to Lung Cancer Care
Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths. The two primary types of lung cancer are called non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The MaineHealth Cancer Care Network brings together teams of specialists to accurately detect and stage lung and other thoracic (within the chest) cancers.
Finding a Lung Cancer Specialist
The list below shows which doctors may be involved in your cancer care. Select the type of specialist you're looking for to find a provider in your area.
- Medical oncologists treating lung cancer use medicine (chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biotherapy and/or immunotherapy) rather than radiation.
- Surgeons treating lung cancer focus on the surgical management of the disease.
- Radiation oncologists use high energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding tissue.
- Cancer Patient Navigators make sure you have everything you need to make informed decisions about your care.
Why Do I Need to See So Many Doctors?
It is important that cancer specialists highly trained in their area of care participate in evaluating your diagnosis and planning your treatment.
Chronic cough, wheezing may be lung cancer signs
- Coughing (sometimes with blood)
- Chest and ribs hurt
- Feeling out of breath
- Frequent chest colds and chest infections
- Weight loss
Lung cancer treatment options can vary
Treatment depends on the cancer type and stage. Treatment options include:
Complementary and integrative therapies
Getting a second opinion is not uncommon in cancer care. At MaineHealth, we know how important it is to be confident in the approach to your lung cancer care and treatment. We want to make every effort to facilitate a second opinion, whenever the patient – and in many situations, the provider – wants to seek a second opinion. This is important to us, and our focus on patient-centered care.
What is a second opinion?
A second opinion is when a patient or physician seeks another physician specialist’s review of a patient’s diagnosis or recommended treatment. It is common in cancer, especially if a patient has an unusually complicated condition or rare form of the disease.
When you choose to obtain a second opinion, your physician forwards test results such as radiology images, blood work and pathology slides. The physician may recommend another physician specializing in that cancer, or the patient may find a specialist through a primary care physician, online research or a relative or friend’s recommendation.
To confirm that insurance will cover the cost of second opinion visits, it is recommended that you verify by contacting your insurance company directly.
Preparing for your visit
Like all visits for cancer care, when you are getting a second opinion, it’s helpful to write down your questions in advance and take notes during the conversation. Physicians often recommend that you bring someone with you to help you recall the discussion later. It can be difficult to process what you’re hearing especially if you’re scared or anxious about your condition.
Physicians also may seek another physician’s opinion either on a one-on-one basis, or by asking a multidisciplinary group of cancer specialists to review and weigh in on a patient’s diagnosis or treatment. This team of specialists includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists, as well pathologists, pharmacists and patient navigators. They meet regularly to review patients’ cases.
Where to go for a second opinion?
MaineHealth has sites where patients and their physicians may obtain second opinions. Each site includes lung cancer experts with advanced training and experience.