Role of Oncologists in Lung Cancer Treatment Plans

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with lung cancer, one of the most important members of your medical team will be the oncologist. Oncologist in Chennai are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer. They play a vital role in developing a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific type and stage of lung cancer.

Initial Diagnosis and Staging

The oncologist’s involvement often begins after the initial diagnosis of lung cancer is made, typically by a pulmonologist, radiologist, or pathologist. The oncologist will review all the test results, including imaging scans and biopsy reports, to determine the type and stage of the lung cancer.

Staging is a crucial step in the process, as it helps the oncologist understand how far the cancer has spread and guides the treatment approach. The stage of lung cancer is determined by factors such as the size and location of the primary tumour, whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and whether it has metastasised (spread) to other organs.

Treatment Planning

Once the type and stage of lung cancer have been established, the oncologist will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan may involve one or more treatment modalities, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

The treatment plan is tailored to the patient’s specific situation, taking into account factors such as age, overall health, and personal preferences. The oncologist will carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks of each treatment option, considering the patient’s quality of life and the likelihood of successful outcomes.

Surgical Intervention

For many lung cancer patients, surgery is a crucial component of the treatment plan. The oncologist will work closely with thoracic surgeons to determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for surgery and to coordinate the timing and approach of the procedure.

Depending on the stage and location of the tumour, the surgeon may perform a wedge resection (removal of a small portion of the lung), a lobectomy (removal of an entire lobe of the lung), or a pneumonectomy (removal of an entire lung).

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is often used in combination with other treatments or as a standalone treatment for lung cancer. The oncologist will collaborate with radiation oncologists to determine the most appropriate type of radiation therapy (external beam radiation or brachytherapy) and the optimal dosage and schedule.

Radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumour, after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells, or as a palliative treatment to alleviate symptoms in advanced cases.


Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. The oncologist will select the most appropriate chemotherapy regimen based on the type and stage of lung cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and ability to tolerate the side effects.

At HCG Hospital Bangalore Chemotherapy may be given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the tumour, after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to eliminate any remaining cancer cells, or as a primary treatment for advanced or metastatic lung cancer.

Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy

In recent years, targeted therapies and immunotherapies have emerged as promising treatments for certain types of lung cancer. These targeted approaches work by targeting specific genetic mutations or by harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.

The oncologist will conduct molecular testing on the tumour to identify any targetable mutations or biomarkers that may make the patient eligible for these newer therapies. If appropriate, targeted therapies or immunotherapies may be incorporated into the treatment plan, either alone or in combination with other modalities.

Supportive Care

Throughout the treatment process, the oncologist plays a crucial role in managing the side effects of cancer treatments and providing supportive care to maintain the patient’s quality of life. This may involve prescribing medications to alleviate symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue, as well as coordinating with other healthcare professionals like nutritionists, social workers, and palliative care specialists.

Follow-up and Surveillance

Even after the initial course of treatment is completed, the oncologist’s role continues. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the patient’s response to treatment, detect any recurrence of cancer, and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

The oncologist will also coordinate ongoing surveillance, which may include regular imaging scans, blood tests, and physical examinations, to ensure that any potential relapse or new cancer development is detected and addressed promptly.


The oncologist is a central figure in the management of lung cancer, orchestrating a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and personalized care. From initial diagnosis and staging to treatment planning, execution, and follow-up, the oncologist’s expertise and guidance are invaluable in navigating the complex journey of lung cancer treatment. With their in-depth knowledge and commitment to providing the best possible care, oncologists play a vital role in improving outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for lung cancer patients.