Which Doctor to Consult for Lung Cancer
There are many different types of doctors that specialize in treating lung cancer. Amidst the frustration of a diagnosis and/or suspected lung cancer, the last thing you want is to feel that you don’t know where to turn. This article will guide you through the various types of specialists you may find on your journey, and what to expect from each.
Oncologists help you to set up a treatment plan for your cancer, after diagnosis. There are three types of specialists, as well as a type of nurse called a nurse oncologist, who is trained to help administer medications related to your lung cancer.
- Radiation oncologists: specialize in using radiation treatments
- Medical oncologists: specialize in using drug cancer treatments
- Surgical oncologists: deal with the surgical aspects of cancer, such as tumor removal.
Pulmonologists specialize in treating many different diseases of the lungs, not just cancer. They are able to perform surgical operations and are often grouped with cardiac surgeons.
Thoracic surgeons specialize in surgeries surrounding the chest area. They are able to perform surgeries on the lungs, chest, throat, and heart, and like pulmonologists, are grouped in with cardiac surgeons.
Some additional specialists you might meet include
- Palliative care specialists, who specialize in pain relief, treatment, and management;
- Oncology social workers, who are trained to provide counseling and practical care to cancer patients, such as emotional support and instruction for loved ones about coping with symptoms and treatments
- Pathologists, who will examine samples of tissue collected for more specifics about your cancer.
You may meet with several of these types of specialists, or all of them, during your treatment. With all these options, it can be hard to know which person is the right choice for you. It is always important to make sure that you have a good gut feeling about each specialist, and your primary care physician will probably have recommendations for specialists that he/she trusts.