Lung cancer can start in your windpipe, your main airway or your lung tissue. This is called primary lung cancer. There are two types: non-small cell and small cell.
Go to the NHS website for more information about primary lung cancer.
The following charities also provide more information and support:
What to expect at your appointment
Your first appointment at hospital may take between 45 minutes and two hours. You may have tests and investigations on the same day or at a later date.
You will see one of our respiratory consultants or doctors. They will ask you about your symptoms and your general health and examine you.
You may also meet the lung clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who will be your key worker during your care. They will explain your test and treatment options and support you and your family. You will also be given written information about the type of cancer you have, your treatment options, and other sources of support, such as King's Macmillan Information and Support Centre.
We usually send you appointment letters for tests, investigations or treatments by post and text message.
Tests and investigations
At your first appointment you may have one or more of the following tests or you may be asked to return at a later date to have them. They help us to find out whether you have cancer and to assess your treatment options. They include:
- CT scan at King’s
- endoscopy, such as a bronchoscopy at King's or an endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) at St Thomas’
- lung biopsy, either CT-guided or surgical. You have both types at King's
- MRI scan at King’s
- PET scan in Nuclear Medicine at King's
- lung function tests, such as a breathing test, at King's
Your care and treatment depends on the type cancer you have, its size and where it is, how far it has advanced (the stage) and your overall health. The final decision about what treatment you have is yours.
After our team of specialists reviews the results of your tests and investigations, we will arrange another appointment so you can discuss your treatment options with your consultant and clinical nurse specialist.
Your care usually includes one or more or a combination of treatments. You have all of these at Guy’s or St Thomas's Hospital:
- surgery: to completely remove the tumour you have a surgical resection. After surgery you may need chemotherapy.
If you do not have surgery, you may have:
- chemotherapy, including oral chemotherapy
- radiotherapy and chemotherapy together
- chemotherapy and then radiotherapy
- other systemic anti-cancer treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted treatments
Who to contact
Lung clinical nurse specialists
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 1452
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 4733
Available: Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm (excluding bank holidays)
If you cannot get in touch with your key worker, especially out of hours, if you are receiving treatment at Guy's please call the on-call oncology registrar at Guy's Hospital. Otherwise, contact your local GP or nearest Accident and Emergency department.
If you have practical queries or want further information about support groups, contact the Macmillan Centre at King’s.
Your care will be provided by a group of experts called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals specialising in treating your type of cancer. You can discuss your care with them and ask them any questions you have about your treatment. Our team includes:
- Dr William McNulty (Lead)
- Dr David Walder
- Dr Laura-Jane Smith
- Dr Geoffrey Warwick
- Dr Amadea Heitmann
- Dr Shahreen Ahmad
- Dr Sharmistha Ghosh
Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeons
- Miss Juliet King
- Dr Donald Whittaker
How we support you
We want to make sure that you get all the assistance you need to live well with – and after – cancer. There’s a wide range of support available to help you cope with cancer, including physical, emotional and practical advice for you, your family, friends and carers. You will be offered a Holistic Needs Assessment at diagnosis and at different time-points throughout your treatment.