Lung Cancer Doctors

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 2, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA on October 2, 2014

Doctors Who Treat Lung Cancer

Many types of doctors are involved in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Your primary care doctor may refer you to various specialists whose titles may be unfamiliar to you. Here are a few types of specialists you may meet and the roles they play in lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.


An oncologist will help you set up a treatment plan following a cancer diagnosis. Oncology is divided into three different specialties:

  • Radiation oncologists use therapeutic radiation to treat cancer.
  • Medical oncologists specialize in using drugs like chemotherapy to treat cancer.
  • Surgical oncologists handle the surgical portions of cancer treatment, such as removal of tumors and surgical resection.


A pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the lungs, such as lung cancer, COPD, and tuberculosis. With cancer, a pulmonologist aids in diagnosis and treatment. They are also called pulmonary specialists. 

Thoracic Surgeon

These doctors specialize in surgery of the chest (thorax). They perform operations on the throat, lungs, and heart. These surgeons are often grouped with cardiac surgeons.

Prepare for Your Appointment

No matter which doctor you are scheduled to see, some pre-appointment preparation can help you make the most of your time. Make a list of all your symptoms, even if you do not know if they are directly related to your condition. Call ahead to see if there is anything you need to do in advance of your appointment, such as fasting for a blood test. Ask a friend or family member to go with you to help you recall all the details of your visit afterward, Prepare a written list of any questions you have to take with you.

Here are a few questions prepared by the Mayo Clinic to help you get started:

  1. Are there different kinds of lung cancer? Which kind do I have?
  2. What other tests will I need?
  3. What stage of cancer do I have?
  4. Will you show me my X-rays and explain them to me?
  5. What treatment options are available to me? What are the side effects of the treatments?
  6. How much do the treatments cost?
  7. What would you tell a friend or relative in my condition?
  8. How can you help me with my symptoms?

Support and Resources

Here are some additional resources from which you can find more information and emotional support during your treatments.

National Cancer Institute - 800-422-6237

American Cancer Society - 800-227-2345

Lung Cancer Alliance - 800-298-2436 

Find an oncologist or a cardiothoracic surgeon near you.

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Show Sources

Trending Now

The Best Multiple Sclerosis iPhone and Android Apps of the Year
The Best Multiple Sclerosis iPhone and Android Apps of the Year
These best multiple sclerosis apps provide helpful information and tools to keep track of your symptoms, including medication reminders.
Understanding the Progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Understanding the Progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis
One serious potential cause of back pain is ankylosing spondylitis. Get an understanding of what this condition is, how it progresses, and potential complications in this slideshow.
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
There are a number of potential causes of back pain, but one you might not know about is ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Find out five warning signs of AS in this slideshow.
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
The symptoms of RA are more than just joint pain and stiffness. Common symptoms include loss of feeling, muscle pain, and more. Learn more in this slideshow.
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Asthma shouldn’t be a barrier to staying active and fit. Learn about famous athletes who didn’t let asthma stop them from achieving their goals.