Lung Cancer Treatment

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Lung Cancer Treatment

Treatment for lung cancer will depend on the type and spread of the cancer. If it has not spread beyond one lung, surgery may be used to remove the cancerous cells.
If surgery is not possible, radiation, in combination with chemotherapy, may be used to kill cancer cells.
As an alternative, biological therapy (targeted surgery) may be used to replace chemotherapy or used in addition to chemotherapy. Biological therapy uses chemicals to stop cells from growing rather than killing the cells as occurs in chemotherapy.


Small-cell-lung-cancer is often found in active or former cigarette smokers. This type of cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy because often it spreads to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed. Surgery, in this case, is uncommon. However, if the cancer is discovered early, surgery may be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation.


Surgery is only used if cancer is detected at a very early stage, otherwise by the time small cell lung cancer is diagnosed, the cancer would have spread to other areas of the body and surgery would not be an effective option.


Removal of one or more large parts of the lungs.


Removal of an entire lung. In this case, people will live with only one lung.


Removal of a small section of the lung. This procedure is indicated when it is suspected that the cancer is very small.


If a patient is in good health, and their tumor is very small, an intensive course of radiation may be used instead of surgery. This is called stereotactic radiation and it focuses high power radiation on a small area of the body.


Chemotherapy for lung cancer requires a combination of different medications, most often delivered intravenously, though sometimes taken orally.


A variety of treatment options are available for non-small cell lung cancer, including::

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Targeted therapy: The use of drugs to specifically target cancer cells.
  • Cryosurgery: The freezing and destruction of abnormal tissue.
  • Electrocautery: The use of heat to destroy abnormal tissue.
  • Watchful waiting: This is the close monitoring of the patient for the appearance of signs and symptoms. The treatment is given only when cancer becomes symptomatic. This method is reserved only for some rare cases.

Follow-up care

Once treatment is over, follow-up appointments are necessary to manage side effects and monitor for recurrence of cancer.

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