Experts in Thoracic Cancers

The Thoracic Cancer team at Stanford Cancer Center has deep experience in treating both early stage and complex cases of lung cancer. Our specialists will use state-of the-art diagnostics to rapidly assess your cancer. With new knowledge about the genetic makeup of tumor types, our team can provide a personalized treatment plan that matches your needs, and offers the lowest risk and greatest chance of cure.

Thoracic Cancer Program
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-498-6000 Getting Here
Maps & Directions
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-498-6000 Getting Here

Our Doctors

Care and Treatment of Lung and Thoracic Cancers

Treatment Options

Lung cancer and other thoracic cancers require expert care. At the Stanford Cancer Center, our multispecialty team of lung and thoracic cancer specialists has been at the forefront of performing lung-sparing surgeries, inventing radiation therapy techniques, and leading clinical trials resulting in new treatment paradigms.

Surgery may be the only required treatment, or is in some cases part of the treatment, for early stage lung cancers. Treatment for thoracic cancer may include one or more of the following:


A type of radiation therapy in which sealed radioactive material  is placed directly into or near a tumor to deliver a higher dose of internal radiation over a shorter period of time.

Bronchial stenting

The use of stents to open up airways and make breathing easier.


The use of anticancer drugs to shrink or kill cancerous cells and reduce cancer spreading to other parts of the body.


The surgical removal of the lower two-thirds or nearly the entirety of the esophagus, along with the uppermost part of the stomach, and all of the surrounding lymph nodes.

External radiation (external beam therapy)

A treatment that sends precise high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells.

Intensity modulated radiation therapy

An advanced type of radiation technology that manipulates beams of radiation to conform to the shape of a tumor.

Ivor Lewis esophagectomy

Surgical removal of the esophageal tumor through an abdominal incision and a right thoracotomy.


Anatomic removal of a complete lobe of lung (there are three lobes in the right lung and two in the left lung). This is the most common operation and has very low complication and mortality rates.

Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS)

A surgical treatment for emphysema that could dramatically improve symptoms and, in many cases, increase longevity.

Minimally invasive esophagectomy

Surgical removal of the esophageal tumor through small abdominal incisions and small incisions in the right chest (thoracoscopy).


Complete removal of the lung on one side. Although sometimes required, one would like to avoid this if a complete removal of the cancer can be performed without pneumonectomy.

Pulmonary metastasectomy

Patients with metastatic tumors that spread to the lung from other sites often still have a chance to be cured by surgical removal of these tumors, frequently in combination with chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy

The use of high-energy radiation to kill or shrink cancer cells, tumors, and non-cancerous diseases.

Radiofrequency ablation

An advanced, minimally invasive procedure that uses a heat-generating, electrode-tipped catheter.

Respiratory gated radiation therapy

A therapy that enables doctors to precisely delivery radiation to the lungs by compensating for the movement that occurs when you breathe.

Sleeve lobectomy

The removal of a complete lobe of the lung as well as part of the airway that conducts air to the remaining lobe, and then re-connecting that airway and remaining lobe.


Surgical removal of only a portion of a lobe. Often used for small tumors or in patients with severe lung disease.

Stereoactive ablative body radiotherapy (SABR)

A treatment using sophisticated computerized imaging to precisely target a narrow X-ray beam.

Targeted therapies

Targeted therapies can target cancerous cells without affecting healthy tissue, unlike radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Three incision esophagectomy

Surgical removal of the esophageal tumor through an abdominal incision, right thoracotomy, and left neck incision.

Transhiatal esophagectomy

Surgical removal of the esophageal tumor through abdominal incision, without thoracotomy, and a left neck incision.

VATS lobectomy

A type of thoracic surgery performed using a small video camera that is introduced into the patient's chest via a scope.

VATS removal of mediastinal masses

A minimally invasive, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) approach to removing mediastinal tumors and masses.

VATS resection of lung metastases

Aminimally invasive, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) approach to pulmonary metastasectomy.

VATS sympathectomy

A thoracoscopic VATS procedure used to treat hyperhidrosis.

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)

A minimally invasive surgical approach to removing thoracic tumors.

Wedge resection

Surgical removal of an small portion of the lung. Often used for small tumors or in patients with severe lung disease. 

Clinical Trials

Clinical research highlights

The Stanford Thoracic Cancer team is engaged in cutting-edge research and offers a wide number and variety of clinical trials incorporating novel treatments for both early and advanced-stage lung cancers, including:

  • Combination trials with surgery, radiation and drug therapy
  • Immune therapy (cancer vaccine) as an adjuvant to surgery
  • Dendritic cell vaccines and autologous tumor cell vaccines
  • New combinations of oral agents that counteract resistance to targeted therapies
  • Advanced imaging, motion control and delivery of radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy and targeted inhibitors for lung cancer metastases to the brain
  • Molecular analysis of lung and thymic tumors

Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor about any clinical trials you should consider. Learn more about clinical trials for cancer patients.

Clinical trial eligibility flowcharts

Eligibility flowcharts map clinical trials to specific types of cancers to determine if a participant is eligible for the particular clinical trial. View all thoracic and lung cancer eligibility flowcharts at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

For Patients


Review the New Patient Packet for information about:

  • What to expect on the day of your appointment
  • Maps, directions, parking, public transit options, and contact information
  • Other patient resources

Bring completed forms found in the Thoracic New Patient Letter.


Please fax the Medical Record Release Form to your new patient coordinator. The medical release form is an authorization form for external facilities to release medical records to Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics). 

International Patients
Phone: +1 650-723-8561

Call us to make an appointment


For Health Care Professionals


Phone: 1-866-742-4811
Fax: 650-320-9443
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics) provides comprehensive services to refer and track patients, as well as provides the latest information and news for physicians and office staff. For help with all referral needs and questions visit Referring Physicians.


Fax a referral form with supporting documentation to 650-320-9443.

Please note, though this form is from Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), it is also used for all Cancer Center referrals.

Track your patients' progress and communicate with Stanford providers securely online.

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