Lung Cancer Care

Deciding on where to receive treatment is the most important decision a patient with cancer will make. Studies have shown that patients who begin their treatment at a top national cancer center have better outcomes than those who start their treatment elsewhere.

UW Medicine has recently been recognized as one of the top five cancer centers in the United States. In addition, UW Medical Center (UWMC) — in collaboration with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — is the only National Comprehensive Cancer Network in the Pacific Northwest.

The UW Medicine lung cancer team consists of nationally recognized healthcare professionals with extensive clinical knowledge and the surgical expertise to diagnose and treat cancers. This multidisciplinary lung cancer team, led by UW Physicians, offers personalized treatment plans based on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your genetics, life circumstances, and other factors unique to you.

Where You Will Be Seen

Depending on your specific cancer diagnosis or suspected diagnosis, you will receive care at UW Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center or the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), a cooperative alliance of UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children's. The goal of our team is to have you seen by the right people in the right place for your specific circumstances.

If you have already been diagnosed with lung cancer, you may also self-refer by calling the SCCA's Patient Intake Office at 206.288.SCCA (7222).

Comprehensive Team

Many of our patients have lung cancers requiring coordination by multiple healthcare professionals. We focus on integrated, patient-centered care to maximize your quality of life and the opportunity for a cure.

Our team includes experts from surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology all working together to provide the best possible care. In addition, we have a well-coordinated support team, including respiratory therapists, radiation therapy technicians and highly specialized nurses trained in the post-operative care of patients with lung cancers, which means that our patients get out of the hospital — and back to their lives — faster and with fewer complications.

As an academic health system, UW Medicine is also able to offer its patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of new cancer therapies. Participation is optional, but patients who participate in these studies have the first chance to benefit from the latest and most innovative therapies.

Standard Treatment

Our treatment plans always begin with a comprehensive diagnosis. Lung cancer has evolved so rapidly that it is essential to have a pinpoint diagnosis of the specific kind of lung cancer a patient has — and that can be determined through genetic profiling.

Researchers at UW Medicine developed UW-OncoPlex™, a diagnostic test that identifies mutations in a set of about 200 genes. Many of the mutations found by this approach can determine how to choose an FDA-approved drug or a therapy already in clinical trials. By testing for possible mutations all at once, UW-OncoPlex can identify the specific mutation signature of each cancer.

With the results from UW-OncoPlex testing, your doctor can choose the most effective treatment for your individual tumor. This can spare you the physical and emotional wear and tear of treatments that don’t work. The time factor is important as well. Cancer left untreated tends to grow, spread and spread to other kinds of tissue. By attacking it with one or more of the effective agent(s) right away, there’s a better chance to contain the cancer and force it into remission.

Everyone’s cancer is different. Your doctor will recommend treatment based on the type and stage of your lung cancer and other factors, such as your overall health, any potential side effects of treatment, and the probability of curing your disease, extending your life, and relieving your symptoms.

Most people who have lung cancer will be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or biological therapies:

Many of our lung cancer patients receive more than one of these treatments. Our team also provides supportive care and pain management at every stage of the treatment process.