What're the treatments for lung cancer?
As with all cancers, lung cancer may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments. The treatment of lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease and includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. If the cancer is localized, surgery is the best option. However, because only 18 percent of lung cancers are discovered early
enough for surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are often necessary.
Chemotherapy may be used with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat non-small cell lung cancer that remains localized to the chest. Chemotherapy may be used if the cancer has spread outside the chest. Chemotherapy is used for all stages of small cell lung cancer with or without radiation therapy. Chemotherapy trials for patients with both localized and disseminated non small cell cancer and small cell cancer are available. In small-cell carcinoma, a large percentage of patients achieve remission with chemotherapy--alone or in combination with radiation--instead of surgery. Small-cell carcinomas have responded to the following combinations: cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine; cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and etoposide; and etoposide and cisplatin.
Radiation therapy is the treatment of choice for lung cancer patients whose cancer is not operable or whose cancer has spread from the lung to other parts within the chest, including other lymph nodes or other tissues. It may be used with other therapies to treat patients whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body from the lungs or who are too ill to undergo surgery. After completion of radiation treatment, clinical trials are available for exploring ways to keep tumors in remission.
Surgery is usually the treatment of choice for non-small cell cancers, if the cancer is in only one lung with possible spread to the lymph nodes. During surgery, your physician will also take out lymph nodes to see if they contain cancer. For patients whose cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, clinical trials are available. In these trials, chemotherapy and surgery are combined in order to better control the cancer. Types of lung cancer surgery include Wedge resection (a small section of the lung is removed), lobectomy (a more involved procedure is a lobectomy, the removal of a whole section of one lung), and pneumonectomy (this procedure involves the removal of an entire lung).
Photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy is a newer treatment, used more often during clinical trials. Photodynamic therapy is used only for tumors in the main central airways that either recur after surgery or chemotherapy or, because of their location and/or size, are not amenable to surgery. It involves the use of a laser light aimed at the cancerous growth, which activates a chemical that has been injected into the blood stream and is absorbed and held for a period of time by cancer cells (while normal cells release the chemical quickly). The chemical, activated by the laser, then kills the cancer cells.
Radiofrequency Ablation is increasing in popularity for this condition as it is non toxic and causes very little pain. It seems especially effective when combined with chemotherapy as it catches the cells inside a tumor - the ones difficult to get with chemo due to a reduced blood supply to the inside of the tumor. It is done by inserting a small heat proble inside the tumor to cook the tumor cells. These are then disposed of by the body through normal eliminative processes.
Other treatments are often needed for people who have lung cancer. Because many people who have lung cancer experience a substantial decrease in lung function, whether or not they undergo treatment, oxygen therapy and bronchodilators (drugs that widen the airways) may aid breathing. Many people with advanced lung cancer develop such extreme pain and difficulty in breathing that they require large doses of opioids in the weeks or months before their death. Fortunately, opioids can help substantially if adequate doses are used.
More information on lung cancer
What is lung cancer? - Lung cancer is a malignant tumour of the lungs. Lung cancer is the cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
What types of lung cancer are there? - The lungs are made up of several kinds of cells that perform different functions. The type of lung cancer depends on which cell type is affected.
What is small cell lung cancer? - Small cell lung cancer is a type of lung cancer in which the cells look like oats. Small cell lung cancer is almost always caused by smoking.
What is non-small cell lung cancer? - Non-small cell lung cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma.
What causes lung cancer? - Cigarette smoking is the most significant cause of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer. Lung diseases create a risk for lung cancer.
What're the risk factors for lung cancer? - Risk factors for lung cancer include tobacco smoking, marijuana, asbestos, radon, lung diseases, radiation therapy, work-related exposure to substances.
What're the signs and symptoms of lung cancer? - Lung cancer may cause a number of symptoms. The primary symptoms of lung cancer are cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness, blood in the sputum, and pain.
How is lung cancer diagnosed? - Diagnosis of lung cancer may be made by physical examination, chest X rays, bronchoscopy, or percutaneous needle biopsy. Lung biopsy is the most definitive diagnostic tool for cancer.
What're the lung cancer stages? - Lung cancer is staged according to its location, size, cell type, and spread. Knowing the stage of lung cancer helps the doctor set the treatment plan.
What're the treatments for lung cancer? - The treatment of lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease and includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
What's the treatment for small cell lung cancer? - At limited stage treatments for small cell lung cancer include various combinations of chemotherapy, radiation.
What's the treatment for non-small cell lung cancer? - Surgery is the primary treatment for all non¨Csmall cell lung cancers. Radiation therapy may be administered.
Treatment for non-small cell lung cancer by stage - Stage III non-small cell lung cancer are treated with radiation and sometimes with surgery, chemotherapy, or combinations of each.
What's the prognosis of lung cancer survival rate? - The prognosis of lung cancer depends on the type of lung cancer, its stage, and the overall health of the patient.
How to prevent lung cancer? - Prevention of lung cancer includes quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to potentially cancer-causing substances in the work environment.
Asbestos lung cancer - The most serious hazard of exposure to asbestos is cancer. Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure.