Our Program

The Lung Cancer Program at Keck Medicine of USC offers the most advanced technology in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, with many treatments and services not offered elsewhere in Southern California.

We treat all types of lung cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma and small cell lung cancer. We also offer advanced lung cancer screening at an affordable cost.  For more information about our low cost lung screening program, click here.

Our services include some of the latest in imaging and radiology techniques, laboratory facilities and information systems. Among the comprehensive services we provide are:

  • Aggressive, multispecialty treatment for advanced tumors
  • CT–guided core needle biopsy of lung tumors
  • CT–guided thermal ablation of tumors
  • Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy or superDimension® for biopsy of nodules
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) for incision-free biopsy of lymph nodes
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with image guidance (IGRT) for precise radiation delivery to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor
  • Lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals using low-dose CT scans
  • Personalized chemotherapy and targeted molecular therapy for interrupting molecular abnormalities that drive cancer growth
  • Non-invasive stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with Cyberknife®, Gamma Knife® and TrueBeam™ Stx
  • Access to clinical trials that advance understanding of cancer genetics and the development of breakthrough treatments

Our dedicated thoracic surgical oncologists use the da Vinci® Xi robotic surgical system to perform complex surgery such as lung resection. As a result, our patients have enjoyed a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. These advantages allow our surgeons to operate on patients who are considered too high risk at other medical centers.

Our oncologists are experts in lung cancer genetics. We use the latest minimally invasive technology for diagnosis and staging of lung cancers. The newest and latest technologies are available under one roof. We invest in developments that provide the best outcomes for patients.

For more detailed information on lung cancer, click here to view our online health library.

Our Approach

We evaluate and treat each person as a unique individual. Our team of specialists uses a variety of tools to create a personalized treatment plan. We seek to provide the best quality care in the least invasive way, always striving to improve safety, reduce complications and shorten recovery time.

You will receive the expertise of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized specialists. Experts in thoracic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology and pulmonology convene in a weekly multispecialty clinic that allows patients to be seen by the appropriate specialists in one visit. Your team is composed of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons who are not only experts in oncology but have further specialization in lung cancer ensuring an extra layer of expertise. You also will benefit from a dedicated thoracic interventional radiologist and expert lung pathologist.

Our surgeons are the first in Southern California and among the first west of the Mississippi to perform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved robotic-assisted procedure for a lung cancer patient using the latest, minimally invasive da Vinci® Xi robotic surgical system. We will head the only worldwide training center for other surgeons to learn how to use the Xi robotic system for thoracic procedures.

We are the only institution in Southern California to offer the CyberKnife®, Gamma Knife® and TrueBeam™ Stx in one location, which allows our physicians to provide patients with the best possible course of treatment.

An experienced lung cancer nurse navigator helps patients from the initial phone call to the first appointment and through their follow-up visits to maintain continuity of care.

Our Physicians

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Alex A. Balekian, MD

Practicing Locations

  • USC Center for Advanced Lung Disease
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Ching-Fei Chang, MD

Practicing Locations

  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Eugene Chung, MD, PhD, JD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Hospital of USC
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Barbara J. Gitlitz, MD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Hospital of USC
  • Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
  • USC Healthcare Center 2
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Jeffrey A. Hagen, MD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
  • USC Healthcare Center 1
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Christopher Lee, MD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Hospital of USC
  • LAC+USC Medical Center
  • USC Healthcare Center 2
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Jorge J. Nieva, MD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Daniel S. Oh, MD

Practicing Locations

  • Keck Hospital of USC
  • Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
  • USC Healthcare Center 1
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital