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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)


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NSCLC accounts for 85% of primary lung cancers.

There are two types of non-small cell lung cancer:

  • Adenocarcinoma: This affects the cells that line the air sacs in your lungs (alveoli), and it can occur in both smokers and non-smokers.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cancer is related to smoking, which converts healthy cells that line the bronchial tubes into squamous cells, which become cancer cells.

Advances in Precision Medicine and biomarker testing has lead to great progress in the treatment of both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell lung cancer. The integrated system for the precise molecular diagnosis, treatment, and multidisciplinary care of f lung cancer has led to improvements in the prognosis of patients with lung cancer. Targeted molecular therapies for squamous cell carcinoma are in development through clinical trials.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

The most experienced lung cancer detection and diagnosis team in South Florida. We specialize in achieving the most accurate, correct diagnosis of your cancer, often down to the genetic level.

Specialized Lung Cancer Screening Clinic. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the nation. Sylvester experts are working to change that. If you have a high risk of developing lung cancer, you can get help identifying the disease at its earliest stages, when treatment is most effective. Our specialized Lung Cancer Screening Clinic offers screenings that involve a non-contrasted low-dose CT scan of the chest.

Get screenings close to home. Screenings are performed at Sylvester’s main facility in Miami, Kendall, Plantation, and at Deerfield Beach. If you're a former or current smoker concerned about your risk of lung cancer and would like to consider scheduling a screening, please call us at 305-243-5302 or 1-877-243-1056.

Robotic video-assisted surgery program ranked among top 10 in the Southeast. Our excellent surgeons use robotic video-assisted technology to improve patient outcomes, including decreased blood loss in surgery, shorter hospital stays, and higher survival rates on average for appropriate patients.

Advanced radiation oncology tools. Sylvester is one of only five medical centers in the country with ViewRay™ — MRI-guided radiation therapy. Our RapidArc® radiotherapy system delivers intensity modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT). These tools lead to more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in tumor targeting, and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

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  • Wedge Resection

    This surgical procedure removes only the tumor and a clear margin of normal lung tissue around it. It's often used during the diagnosis stage to help us study your cancer’s cells and to determine how aggressive the cancer is. Often, it's reserved for patients with poor lung function who can't tolerate a lobectomy.

  • Lobectomy

    Lobectomy is surgery to remove a lobe of a lung affected by cancer. The right lung has three lobes (upper, middle and lower), and the left lung has two lobes (upper and lower).

  • Segmentectomy

    This surgery removes one segment or a few segments of a lung within the same lobe. For some smaller cancers, a segmentectomy can offer similar results as a lobectomy.

  • Sleeve Resection

    Sleeve resection surgery removes cancer in the main bronchus (air tube) and reconnects the ends to maintain healthy parts of the lung. This procedure helps save more lung tissue and preserve normal function.

  • Pneumonectomy

    This surgery removes a whole lung. Surgeons use other treatment approaches whenever possible.

  • Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)

    VATS offers a less-invasive procedure for treating small, early-stage lung cancer tumors. To do the procedure, your surgeon inserts tiny video and surgical instruments through a few small incisions in your chest wall. This approach greatly reduces the risk of infection and can offer a faster recovery.

  • Robotic Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (RVATS)

    The robotic-assisted thoracic surgery program at UHealth/Sylvester ranks among the top 10 programs in the Southeast. This surgery shares similar advantages to VATS, with small incisions and a tiny camera to help guide the surgeon. For RVATS, your doctor still performs surgery, but robotic technology increases the magnification of the surgical area. Also, the instruments have better dexterity and range of motion than the human hand. RVATS offers less blood loss, a typically shorter hospital stay, and better outcomes.

  • Radiation Therapy

    The goal of radiation therapy is to eliminate or shrink a tumor, either alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy — or both. It can be delivered from outside the body (external radiation) or internally, with radiation "seeds" implanted directly into the tumor (brachytherapy). Radiation therapy is also used to control an incurable tumor and improve your comfort.

  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

    SBRT is a treatment approach for early-stage lung cancer for people who can't undergo surgery due to other medical risks. High-risk patients with early-stage lung cancer are evaluated by both thoracic surgeons and radiation oncologists before a decision is made to choose this therapy over surgery.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is cancer-fighting medicine given as a pill or intravenously (via a needle). It's usually part of the treatment for advanced non-small cell cancer. There are several medicines available to treat lung cancer. Doctors use a wide range of approaches, such as before or after surgery, in combination with radiation therapy (chemoradiation), or as a standalone treatment. Chemotherapy is usually part of the treatment for advanced non-small cell cancer.

  • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapy uses medicines or other substances to destroy specific cancer cells, with less damage to normal cells than radiation therapy or standard chemotherapy. Examples of targeted therapies include monoclonal antibodies or small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Doctors use several targeted therapies to treat some advanced non-small cell lung cancers, either alone or along with chemotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy

    This therapy boosts your immune system to fight cancer. It uses medicines that target certain inhibitors to stimulate your immune system to attack the lung cancer and restore an anti-tumor immune response. For advanced NSCLC, doctors use medicines called immune checkpoint inhibitors.

  • Clinical Trials

    In addition to standard therapies, clinical trials are available and may be recommended. Your oncologist will review your case with you and determine if a clinical trial treatment may be a good option for you.


  • Pulmonary Function Test

    This non-invasive test is performed as part of the initial evaluation of lung cancer patients. It allows us to see how well the lungs are functioning and the quality of your lung tissue to determine if surgery is a viable option. Pulmonary function testing also helps your doctor predict how your lungs will function after surgery.

  • Chest X-ray

    This test examines your lungs and chest cavity for abnormalities. It’s frequently used as a screening test for any abnormality that needs to be further characterized.

  • Computed Tomography Scan of the Chest

    CT scans of the chest provide details about a cancer’s location, characteristics of the tumor(s), and the status of lymph nodes within the chest. It helps your doctor detect any abnormal fluid accumulation within your chest cavity.

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan/CT Scan

    This scan is the standard diagnostic test for lung cancer, which provides valuable information for determining the clinical stage of the lung cancer.

  • Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or CT Scan

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing will show us if a cancer has spread to your brain and helps us plan treatment.

  • Biomarker Testing

    Comprehensive biomarker testing is used for patients diagnosed with lung cancer patients to determine the presence of particular mutations or of a particular protein. It is the first step in precision medicine — ensuring that a patient gets matched to the right treatment at the right time, based on the patient's biomarker status. As part of the diagnostic workup, every patient at Sylvester gets biomarker testing to guide treatment decisions with a multidisciplinary team of experts. Complex molecular cases are discussed at a Molecular Tumor Board and patients may be offered clinical trials based on this molecular information.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.