We are often asked which doctor to see or where to go for treatment. The fact is there is no answer that is right for everyone. Some patients have the resources and desire to get their care at a major cancer center. Others want to get their treatment close to home or feel a smaller center provides more personalized care. The goal for every patient should be to find the best care possible for their situation. Here are some tips for finding the best care for you.

Finding a cancer center with a lung cancer treatment program

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding a cancer center. Your goal is should be to find a facility that treats a lot of lung cancer with a healthcare team that you feel comfortable with. A center that has a lung cancer team or program is preferred.

If there is not a lung cancer-specific program near you, there are some things you should look for when choosing a cancer center. A multidisciplinary approach to treatment is a must, as is a center that treats a lot of lung cancer and understands the latest research and guidelines for treating the disease. A social worker or patient navigator to help you find the support and resources you need is a plus, as is the availability of a lung cancer-specific support group.

A multidisciplinary team approach is when a surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, nurse, social worker and others meet to discuss your situation and work together to make treatment recommendations. It is thought that this team approach improves coordination of care and communication among the medical professionals caring for you. Remember, you are also a member of the team and the decisions about treatment are ultimately yours to make.

If you have trouble identifying where to go for treatment or need help finding a second opinion facility, call our toll-free information line at 1-800-298-2436 or e-mail support@go2foundation.org. We are here to help you find the best care possible.

Lung cancer treatment teams or programs by state

How did we select the centers on this list?

We start with the centers that could be considered “the best” in the country for lung cancer–those that are not only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers, but are also lung cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs). There are four lung cancer SPOREs in the country and they are specially funded to bring research in lung cancer to the patient faster.

In addition to the lung SPOREs, we refer patients to all NCI designated Cancer Centers and Comprehensive Cancer Centers.* If an NCI center doesn’t fit your needs, we then turn to The American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer (CoC) approved centers.** Our list only includes CoC approved centers with lung cancer specific treatment programs, lung tumor boards/multi-disciplinary teams for lung cancer or at a minimum, a dedicated lung cancer patient navigator (identified with the symbol ^). If a center is accredited by both the NCI and CoC it is listed under NCI.

We have also included other programs of interest. There are two “special status programs,” which are centers that don’t fit into either of the above categories but that have been vetted and are recommended. We have also indicated programs that have fulfilled the requirements for The Joint Commission’s special lung cancer certification (indicated by the symbol +). Finally, we occasionally find lung cancer-specific treatment programs at centers that do not fit into any of the above categories and we have included them as well.

If there is not a center listed near you, check the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) patient-friendly website, Cancer.net. There you can search their Find a Cancer Doctor list to find a lung cancer specialist near you. Or contact us by calling our HelpLine at 1-800-298-2436 or by emailing support@go2foundation.org for help finding the best care in your area.

*NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health and is responsible for conducting and supporting cancer-related research, training physicians and scientists and publishing information about all things cancer. NCI cancer centers follow strict standards and are cancer centers of treatment and research excellence.

**The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) centers meet accreditation standards to ensure quality, multidisciplinary approach, and comprehensive cancer care delivery.

+The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States. There are only six cancer programs that have been awarded lung cancer-specific certification .