Thoracic Oncology

Thoracic cancer refers to the cancer that affects the organs and tissues of the chest. Lung cancer is the most common type of thoracic cancer, and it accounts for around 85% of thoracic cancers.

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Thoracic cancer refers to the cancer that affects the organs and tissues of the chest. Lung cancer is the most common type of thoracic cancer, and it accounts for around 85% of thoracic cancers. Other types of thoracic cancer include tracheal cancer, pleural mesothelioma, thymoma, and mediastinal tumours. Treatment planning for thoracic cancer is made based on the type, location, and stage of the cancer and may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. Early detection is key to improving the prognosis for these cancers.

What is Thoracic Oncology?

Thoracic oncology is a medical speciality that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancers of the chest. Thoracic oncologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers of the chest and thoracic cavities. These specialists work in close collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, nuclear medicine specialists, pathologists, and pulmonologists, to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care.

At HCG, we have a robust team of thoracic oncology specialists who are highly skilled and vastly experienced in managing thoracic cancers, achieving better quality clinical outcomes, and helping patients see a prompt recovery. 


There are different types of malignancies associated with the thoracic cavity, and our thoracic oncology specialists at HCG use advanced diagnostic and treatment approaches to manage them.

Lung Cancer: When the cells in the lungs start dividing abnormally and form a tumour, it is referred to as lung cancer. 

Mesotheliomas: Mesotheliomas refer to the tumours that form in the outer lining of the lungs (pleura). 

Thymomas or Thymic Cancer: Cancer that forms in the thymus gland is called a thymoma.

Tracheal Cancer: Tracheal cancer happens when the cells present in the trachea (windpipe) undergo uncontrolled division and form a tumour.

Management of Thoracic Cancer

At HCG Cancer Hospital, we understand that thoracic cancer can be complex and requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. That’s why we use a multidisciplinary approach and personalised treatment plans to ensure that every thoracic cancer patient is treated in the best way possible. Our team of experienced specialists will work together to create a tailored treatment plan based on the unique needs of each patient, taking into account factors such as the type and stage of cancer and any other medical conditions the patient may have. Through this approach, we can ensure that our patients receive the highest quality care and have the best chance of a successful outcome.

Diagnosis of Thoracic Cancer

Thoracic cancer is diagnosed with the help of different tests. Apart from these tests, the doctors also perform a thorough physical examination and medical history assessment to learn the possible causes of the symptoms observed. Following are some of the tests commonly recommended by oncologists for the diagnosis of thoracic cancer:

Lab Tests: Lab tests or blood tests are recommended to check for the presence of specific markers that indicate the presence of thoracic cancer.

Sputum Analysis: The patient’s mucus or sputum is analysed for signs of cancer.

Endoscopy (Thoracoscopy, Bronchoscopy, or Mediastinoscopy): During this procedure, a flexible tube with a camera and light source is sent through the mouth to examine the thoracic region for the presence of a tumour or cancerous lesions.

Biopsy: This test procedure examines the tissue sample under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. 

Imaging Tests: Imaging tests, namely chest X-ray scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and CT scans, are recommended in order to gain more information about the tumour present. These imaging tests are helpful in determining the stage of the disease, the size and shape of the tumour, and the exact location of the tumour. This information is crucial for appropriate treatment planning. 

Treatment of Thoracic Cancer

Once cancer is diagnosed, thoracic oncology specialists will work with a multidisciplinary team to develop a treatment plan. The type of treatment will depend on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the patient’s health, age, and other factors. The following are the treatment options available for thoracic cancer:


Surgery is the key line of treatment for thoracic cancer. Surgery focuses on removing the tumour along with a small portion of healthy tissues that surround the tumour. In order to enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment, surgery is often combined with other treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. 

Surgery is extremely effective in the management of early-stage thoracic cancer. 

Different surgical procedures recommended for thoracic cancer include tumour resection, lobectomy, segmentectomy, pneumonectomy, pleurodesis, pleurectomy and decortication, and thymectomy.

Thoracic oncology specialists may recommend open or minimally invasive surgery (video-assisted thoracic surgery or robotic surgery) for thoracic cancer treatment. Minimally invasive surgeries are advantageous for patients in many ways. These surgeries shorten hospital stays, reduce blood loss and pain, bring down the risk of treatment-related complications, and improve the recovery rate.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses powerful radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Today, with the help of advanced radiotherapy platforms, we are able to precisely target cancer cells and reduce damage to nearby healthy tissues. Radiation therapy is often administered in combination with surgery or chemotherapy in order to improve the overall effectiveness of the treatment. 

Systemic Therapies

Systemic therapies involve the use of powerful drugs and biomolecules in order to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy are some of the well-known systemic therapies. 

Chemotherapy refers to the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy may either be administered before the surgery (to shrink the tumour) or after the surgery (to kill the residual cancer cells). It may also be recommended to alleviate pain and other symptoms in advanced-stage thoracic cancer.

Immunotherapy and targeted therapy are two emerging systemic therapies that have shown promising results. These therapies are often recommended with other treatments. One of the biggest advantages of these approaches is that they precisely target the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is thoracic cancer treatable?

Yes. We have state-of-the-art technologies and modern treatment approaches available today, with which we are able to successfully manage thoracic cancer cases. However, for the clinical outcomes to be better, it is important for thoracic cancer to be diagnosed in the early stages. Being mindful of the different symptoms associated with thoracic cancer and seeing a doctor when any symptom lasts for more than 2 weeks can help in the early detection of thoracic cancer. 

2. What are some of the common symptoms of thoracic cancer?

Persistent coughing, coughing up blood or bloody mucus, chest pain, fatigue, heartburn, indigestion, shortness of breath, hoarse voice, loss of appetite, and unintentional weight loss are some of the common symptoms associated with thoracic cancer.

3. What causes thoracic cancer?

One of the biggest risk factors for thoracic cancer is smoking. Both active and passive smoking are reported to increase the risk of thoracic cancer. Along with this, exposure to certain hazardous chemicals and carcinogens can also increase the risk. Lastly, having a personal or family history of thoracic cancer is also a risk factor.

4. What should I do when I start experiencing the symptoms of thoracic cancer?

When you begin experiencing thoracic cancer, firstly, don’t panic. At times, these symptoms can be caused by other, less severe health conditions, too. That said, you shouldn’t ignore these symptoms either.

When you start experiencing symptoms, promptly see a doctor. A doctor will help you know what is causing these symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

5. How can I prevent thoracic cancer?

There are no known measures to prevent thoracic cancer entirely; however, there are measures that you can take to reduce your thoracic cancer risk. The following measures help reduce the risk of thoracic cancer:

  • Avoid active and passive smoking
  • Avoid exposing yourself to harmful chemicals like asbestos
  • Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Have an active lifestyle and consider healthy weight management
  • Opt for regular screening

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