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Lung Cancer Treatment

We can shorten the time between your lung cancer diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment as specialists from medical and radiation oncology, pathology, pulmonary medicine and thoracic surgery collaborate to:

  • Establish a lung cancer diagnosis and tumor stage. Your team reviews data and orders necessary tests before your first visit.
  • Evaluate all current medical, surgical and radiation treatment options, including lung cancer clinical trials.
  • Develop an individual lung cancer treatment plan.
  • Discuss the plan with you, the patient.
  • Implement the lung cancer treatment plan.

Most lung cancers require a combination of treatment approaches.

Lung cancer treatment options


Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. You may receive it in pill form or by infusion through an IV. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe chemotherapy before or after surgery to shrink a tumor rather than as a standalone treatment.


Immunotherapy is a form of treatment for lung cancer that harnesses an individual’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy is highly targeted and precisely destroys cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It offers the potential to deliver more targeted treatment with fewer harsh side effects.


Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink swollen lymph nodes. Radiation treatment for lung cancer can be internal or external. Treatment can be used before lung cancer surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any cancer cells left in the lungs. In addition, our doctors offer high-dose-rate brachytherapy for lung cancer. Brachytherapy delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor, while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.

Proton therapy

Proton therapy is the leading-edge form of radiation treatment currently available. Proton therapy is a form of external beam radiation that uses energized protons to deliver radiation to a tumor. Proton therapy allows us to target and focus the radiation much more precisely, concentrating radiation in the tumor, where it will benefit the patient, and minimizing radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue. As a result, proton therapy may offer patients the possibility of fewer side effects and improved quality of life, both during and after treatment.

Interventional radiology

The interventional radiology team at The University of Kansas Health System provides therapeutic and diagnostic procedures for cancerous and noncancerous conditions affecting every area of the body. To treat lung cancer, we use several advanced techniques, such as:

  • Embolization: Cuts off the blood supply to a tumor, causing the cells to eventually die.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Uses a high-frequency current that heats the tumor and destroys the cancer cells.
  • Chemoembolization: Sends biodegradable beads filled with concentrated chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor. Because the beads stop blood flow to the tumor and keep chemo drugs out of the bloodstream, you can experience better results with greatly reduced side effects.
  • Microwave ablation: Uses microwaves to heat and kill tumor cells. CT or MRI guides a catheter to the tumor. This is effective treatment for lungs that have only 1 or 2 cancerous lesions.
  • Calypso® 4D Localization System™: This allows continuous tracking of targeted tissue for more precise treatment during radiation therapy for lung cancer.
  • CT guided biopsy: Uses the latest CT scanning technology with real-time 3D reformatting to accurately target areas for biopsy.


Cardiothoracic surgeons at The University of Kansas Health System are among the first in the country – and among a few in the world – with the expertise to remove lung cancer through a single 2-inch incision. With the help of video-assisted thoracic surgery, physicians can remove lung cancer tumors with greater precision. This minimally invasive approach helps those with lung cancer experience less pain, recover more quickly and return home sooner after their surgery. Your lung cancer palliative care team will include several specialists who collaborate to determine the best lung cancer treatment option in Kansas City for you.

Proton Therapy Machine

Proton therapy in Kansas City

Receive lifesaving proton therapy treatment from the region's most experienced team of proton experts.

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Life After Lung Cancer Treatment

We offer a full array of support services for you and your family, including pain management, social services, nutritional advice, education, support groups and financial services. Our smoking cessation program can also help you quit smoking and stay smoke-free. 

When it comes to fighting lung cancer, knowledge is important medicine. Our Brandmeyer Patient Resource Center provides free materials and information in a comfortable setting. The center’s coordinator is an experienced oncology nurse who can help you and your family find the resources you need.

There are several helpful websites where you can learn more about lung cancer treatment options:

The University of Kansas Cancer Center does not assume responsibility for any of the information posted on these sites.

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More options, more hope

Many new therapies are available through clinical trials. Find out how you may benefit from a clinical trial, and what it can do for others.

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Start your path today.

Your journey to health starts here. Call 913-588-1227 or request an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

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