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Thoracic Cancer

Thoracic cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the area between your neck and your stomach. Lung cancer is the most common form of thoracic cancer we treat, but it can also affect other tissues and organs including your esophagus and the parts that make up your airway.

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Cancer care for your chest, lungs + esophagus

Did you know that lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer among all people in the United States? On a positive note, it's very treatable when caught early. A combination of proactive lung cancer screenings and lifestyle changes (quitting smoking) can dramatically drop the risk of lung cancer before it ever becomes a serious concern. 

At Tufts Medicine, your care team will include dedicated expert thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who work together to create a personalized care plan to give you the best treatment options available with the most innovative techniques available today. 

We're committed to doing the work to make healthcare work better for you, from screening to cutting-edge treatment and recovery.

nurse outside a bay of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
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Our team has your entire chest care covered when you're living with a malignancy, such as:

Esophageal cancer
Indeterminate lung nodule
Lung cancer
Thymus cancer
Tracheal tumors


While we tailor each thoracic cancer treatment path to a person's unique needs, everyone's care begins with an evaluation. If initial testing reveals nodules, or "spots," on your lungs, we'll work with our lung nodule specialists to provide you with a prompt evaluation.

It's important to note that nodules can be cancerous or noncancerous. Our experts are committed to providing answers as soon as possible so we can properly plan for your healthcare.

Lung cancer screening

Lung cancer screenings help us identify cancer at its earliest stages. The American Lung Association reports that lung cancer screenings find more than half of lung cancers while they're still in their earliest and most treatable stages. Lung cancer screenings can help your doctor identify abnormalities before they become cancerous and begin to cause symptoms. 



We're here to treat your whole health, not simply one part. That's why our brightest minds in the field have come together to meet you where you are with your care needs, including our:

  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Medical and radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Medical and interventional pulmonologists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Nutritionists
  • Experts in pain management 
  • Palliative care experts 

Treatment options are based on your specific condition and how far it has advanced. Your doctor will talk you through whether surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of treatments will work best for you.


Surgery is often the first step in treating thoracic cancers, especially if they're detected early on. Whenever possible, our experienced surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to reduce your pain, risk and recovery time.

If diagnosed early, surgery can eliminate tumors. For more advanced cases, surgery is often followed by a combination of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and possibly radiation. 

Radiosurgery + radiation therapy

People with early-stage lung cancer who aren't candidates for traditional surgery may be eligible for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) or other ablative therapy. This non-invasive treatment uses large doses of hyper-targeted radiation to kill cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue.

Traditional radiation therapy combined with surgery is another approach to treating thoracic cancers. 


Chemotherapy and other "targeted" cancer-fighting medications can be used alone or as part of a larger treatment plan with other therapies. It's often prescribed to reduce tumor size before a surgical resection (removing all or a portion of the lung) or to prevent tumors from returning after surgery.

Our doctors use advanced molecular profiling to determine if targeted anti-cancer drugs — which usually have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy — are right for you.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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From regular office visits to inpatient stays, find the healthcare you need and deserve close to home.

Greg Schumaker, MD (Medical Director at Lowell General Hospital's ICU, Section Chief of Critical Care, Adult Sleep Medicine) talking to a family member in the waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Our doctors + care team

Meet the doctors and care team devoted to supporting you every step of the way along your path to better health.

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