An official American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement: the role of the pulmonologist in the diagnosis and management of lung cancer

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Aug 15;188(4):503-7. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201307-1269ST.


Background: Lung cancer is a common problem seen by pulmonologists. The American Thoracic Society (ATS) and European Respiratory Society (ERS) are professional organizations whose memberships are composed of large numbers of pulmonologists.

Purpose: This document describes the key role of pulmonologists in the prevention, early diagnosis, and management of lung cancer.

Methods: A committee of ATS and ERS leaders and their oncology groups discussed the activities of pulmonologists in relation to lung cancer in various settings and reviewed available literature on the topic. The content of this statement was approved by the board of directors of both the ATS and ERS.

Results: Optimal lung cancer care requires a multidisciplinary team of specialists who care for a significant number of patients on a regular basis. Pulmonologists are responsible for and involved with patients from their initial diagnosis and staging through treatment and restaging. They are often involved with complications, palliative care, and end-of-life care, and thus have an important role in team leadership.

Conclusions: Lung cancer is a disease with high mortality, profound effects on the quality of the lives of patients and their families, and an enormous cost and impact on society. To treat lung cancer optimally, care must be prompt, multidisciplinary, and patient-centered. In the entire process, pulmonologists have a key role. Pulmonologists and their professional societies should also enhance lung cancer research and education to provide better treatment options and patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physician's Role*
  • Pulmonary Medicine* / education
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States