Thoracic (Chest/Lung) Cancer

Thoracic Cancer Services

At the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), our expert team of specialists provide a full range of high-quality, comprehensive services for thoracic cancer, which includes lung cancer and other cancers of the chest, such as mesothelioma. Our patient-focused care assures you are treated with respect and compassion every step of the way.

From the moment you walk in, we want you to feel confident that you are in expert hands and the right place.

Comprehensive, Quality Care

LHCI has successfully united a network of outstanding providers of cancer care in northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Our care delivery is marked by team collaboration and coordination.

Our comprehensive care carries through any and all phases of treatment, assuring you of the seamless, integrated care you need and deserve. We offer an unparalleled breadth and depth of thoracic cancer services across a broad geographic area. This allows you to receive care from knowledgeable, experienced providers without having to journey far from home.

As our patient satisfaction surveys support, the Lahey Health Cancer Institute enjoys a regional reputation for providing convenience, quality care focused on clinical excellence, a personal touch, and patient involvement. This success has established LHCI as a regional leader in cancer care.


All of the radiation therapy sites within the Lahey Health system are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), which ensures quality and safety in patient care.

Meet the Team

The LHCI thoracic cancer experts combine experienced care with personalized caring. They offer leading-edge, high-tech treatment techniques while never forgetting that you are a person and not just a diagnosis. Our highly respected cancer experts live and work right here in our communities. Meet some of the thoracic cancer specialists you may see on your journey at Lahey Health.

Meet Our Thoracic Cancer Specialists.

Thoracic Cancer Services & Treatments

Thoracic cancer includes lung cancer and other cancers of the chest such as mesothelioma and esophageal cancer. The Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI) offers a full range of thoracic cancer services – from early detection to diagnosis, from treatment to follow-up, from clinical research to survivorship. Our experienced, professional, highly trained, and caring providers are here for you, working as a team to beat your cancer.

LHCI is committed to bringing our premier services and renowned expertise right to your community. Because dealing with cancer is hard enough without having to travel far for treatment.

Our Scope of Thoracic Cancer Care

Our care starts with the latest in imaging techniques to screen for lung cancer. It continues with minimally invasive biopsies, surgery, targeted radiation, and risk assessment, and much more. All of our care is delivered with the professionalism, respect, and caring for which Lahey Health is known.

Wide Range of Services

Learn more about LHCI’s thoracic (chest/lung) cancer services and treatments:
Screening & Diagnosis

At the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), we’ve helped to define the standards for lung cancer screening.

Lahey Health is a pioneer in the early detection of lung cancer, and we have the largest clinical lung cancer screening program in the country.

Lung Cancer Screening Program

Early detection can increase the five-year survival rate for stage 1 lung cancer to nearly 90 percent. Lahey screens for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which has been proven to find lung cancer at its earliest stages. It is the first screening shown to reduce lung cancer deaths.

Our program screens individuals who are current smokers or who have quit within the last 15 years, and who have smoked the equivalent of at least one pack a day for 30 years, since they are at highest risk for lung cancer. Individuals who have smoked for more than 20 years are also eligible if they have additional risk factors.

First ACR Accredited

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center was the first facility in the U.S. to be designated an accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR). In fact, we were used by the ACR as a model program and helped set those standards for others to follow.

Diagnosing Lung Cancer and Chest Cancer

LHCI has the very latest technology available to accurately diagnose thoracic cancer, including CT, MRI, PET, nuclear medicine, PET/CT, and endobronchial ultrasound-guided (EBUS) and navigational bronchoscopy-guided biopsies.

Our interventional pulmonologists utilize a highly sophisticated mapping and tracking system to perform biopsies. Such procedures can be particularly effective for small tumors in the lungs where it might be difficult or dangerous to perform a biopsy deep in the chest.

A Team of Providers

At LHCI, providers from various disciplines come together to diagnose thoracic cancer and form a treatment plan, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons, interventional pulmonologists, pathologists, and other experts.

LHCI treats non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, tracheal tumors, cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the chest, thymoma (cancer of the thymus, a small organ in the upper chest that is part of your lymphatic system), and much more.

Thoracic cancer can be curable when discovered and treated appropriately in its early stages. Our goal is to provide precise diagnosis and staging of a tumor to help guide the most appropriate treatment plan.

If Thoracic Cancer Is Confirmed

If your test results show lung cancer or chest cancer, be assured that you will not be in it alone. We will pair you with a patient navigator to help guide you through treatment decisions and survivorship. We will support you, educate you, and treat you according to best practices and the highest clinical standards.

Your case will be discussed at our next weekly multidisciplinary thoracic oncology clinics, where a team of experts reviews the cases of new patients as well as established patients for whom treatment decisions have to be made. We review your medical images and slides, medical history, and specific type of cancer to reach a consensus on next steps in your care.

Medical Oncology

Advances in the systemic treatment of thoracic cancers have come at a remarkable pace in recent years. At the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), we keep pace with these advances.

Both New and Traditional Approaches

In addition to traditional chemotherapy approaches, recognition of the value of molecularly targeted therapies, and the use of agents to enhance the body’s immune system, have resulted in substantial progress.

Oncology Care Model

Chemotherapy treatment at LHCI reflects the Oncology Care Model (OCM) designed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in which we provide a wide variety of special support services for patients receiving chemotherapy. Learn more about OCM.


Cytotoxic chemotherapy agents remain a important cornerstone of treatment for both selected patients with resected lung cancers as well as patients with more advanced cancers. Increasing emphasis on the development of supportive care agents such as new anti-nausea medicines has allowed chemotherapy to be administered with fewer side effects.

The chemotherapy infusion units throughout the Lahey Health are designed to enhance patient comfort and ease of treatment. Family members or friends may stay with you while you are receiving chemotherapy. Many of our locations provide free television service and free WiFi.

Molecular-Targeted Therapies

Molecular-targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth. It includes drugs that:

  • Interfere with the signals needed for cell growth or the blood vessels that feed a tumor
  • Promote the death of specific cancer cells
  • Stimulate the immune system to destroy specific cancer cells
  • Deliver toxic drugs to cancer cells
  • Targeted drugs can be used to address lung cancer cells with a certain genetic makeup. Because every cancer is unique, we will perform a comprehensive analysis of the genetic makeup of your specific cancer to match you with the most effective targeted treatment for the best possible outcome.

Immunotherapy for cancer involves the use of substances either made in the human body or in a laboratory to boost the body’s immune system. The goal is to stimulate your body’s immune system to fight against your particular type of cancer.

Fertility Counseling

If you are concerned about how your treatment might affect future plans to have a child, we offer fertility counseling services.

Radiation Therapy

The Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI) offers a full range of radiation therapy techniques to treat thoracic (chest/lung) cancer, including high-dose targeted radiation, also called stereotactic body radiotherapy. This is given in three to five treatments as opposed to the standard six- or seven-week course of treatment.

Adapting Our Care for You

We are focused on not exposing you to unnecessary radiation, so we are particularly skilled at adapting our services to treat you with the least amount of radiation needed.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Among the radiation therapy options at Lahey Health is a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery. This is a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-power energy on a small area of the body.

Stereotactic radiosurgery targets and treats cancerous tissue while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue. It is used to treat a number of different types of cancer, including lung cancer, particularly in people who might not be candidates for surgery.


Another type of radiation therapy at LHCI is brachytherapy, a procedure in which radioactive pellets that resemble seeds are placed in the body at the site of the cancer. These seeds give off radiation to kill cancer cells.

External Radiation

External radiation, also called external beam radiation, is the most common type of radiation therapy to treat cancer. At Lahey, we have the most up-to-date equipment and experienced radiologists to allow for more precise delivery of the high-energy beams used to kill cancer cells while doing less damage to normal tissues.

Our radiation oncology services include high-tech procedures such as intensity modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, and hyperfractionated radiation therapy.

Quality and Safety Accreditation

Your safety is very important to us. Some of our quality and safety initiatives for radiation therapy include:

  • Lahey uses the XECAN patient care and safety management system, which is technology that helps ensure the correct treatment of cancer patients.
  • We have an overarching safety program called the Radiation Oncology Safety Initiative (ROSI), which focuses on all aspects of radiation oncology that have an effect on safety.
  • We are members of the Clarity Patient Safety Organization (PSO), which operates the national Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System. By belonging to a national incident-learning database, we are able to compare our experience to that of all other participating institutions in the country, enhancing the potential for discovering significant error-prevention opportunities.
  • All of the radiation therapy sites within the Lahey Health system are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), which ensures quality and safety in patient care.

At the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), our thoracic cancer surgeons use the most advanced approaches to treat chest and lung cancer, supported by the latest therapeutic advancements and state-of-the art-technologies.

World-Class Cancer Care

Thoracic Surgery Team at Lahey Our thoracic cancer surgeons offer you comprehensive, world-class care close to home. Chest and lung cancer conditions treated surgically at LHCI include:

  • Malignant and benign tumors in your lungs and airways
  • Cancer of your esophagus (tube through which food passes from your throat to your stomach)
  • Cancer that originated elsewhere and has spread to your chest (metastases)
  • Pleural effusions (when cancer causes a buildup of fluid around your lungs)
  • Thymoma (a tumor in the center of your chest) and other mediastinal tumors
  • Mesothelioma (cancer of the tissue that lines your lungs, heart, and chest wall)
  • Our thoracic surgeons perform more robotic surgery for lung and chest cancer, including robotic lobectomy and robotic esophagectomy, than any other New England hospital. They are committed, whenever possible, to robotic surgery due to its benefits for the patient: greater surgical accuracy, less pain, and a quicker recovery.

In-house molecular analysis of lung tumors removed after minimally invasive surgery are often used for molecular gene-typing to identify their susceptibility to today’s newer targeted drugs.

Lung Cancer Treatment

At LHCI, we offer all surgical approaches to lung cancer, from minimally invasive, video-assisted, lung-sparing procedures to complex reconstructions for advanced cases. Surgical resection for lung cancer may involve the removal of a small portion of your lung, a lobe of your lung, or occasionally your entire lung to achieve complete removal of the cancer and increase long-term cure rate after surgery.

We discuss and plan your treatment in our Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Conference and Clinic. Specialists from each of the lung cancer-related fields gather to discuss your specific diagnosis and treatment plan.

Our outcomes are excellent due to advances in our ability to diagnose and treat lung cancer using individualized plans for each person who comes to us for care.

Robotic & VATS Lobectomy

Lahey thoracic surgeons are skilled in a type of minimally invasive lung cancer surgery called Robotic VATS lobectomy.

A traditional lobectomy (removal of a lobe of your lung) requires a large incision in your chest wall and spreading your ribs to allow access to your lung.

Robotic Video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) lobectomy, on the other hand, is performed through small incisions and without spreading or injury to your ribs. Often, the da Vinci XI robot is used to provide improved access within the chest, reduce blood loss, and allow for more accurate surgery, without causing injury to the chest wall. Spreading your ribs is not required because the thoracic surgeon uses specially designed instruments and a thin camera that fit between your ribs. Advantages for you include less postoperative discomfort in your chest wall, shorter stays in the hospital, and, typically, a more rapid recovery of lung function.

Our Philosophy

We treat you, first and foremost, as an individual, with compassion, personal attention, and true caring. We recognize that a diagnosis of cancer often leads to physical, psychological, and emotional stress–we will be with you through every step of your journey as you return to wellness.