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Treatments for Lung Cancer

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
 
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While standard protocols have been established for the treatment of virtually all cancers, physicians will often modify them for their individual patients. These modifications are based on many factors including the patient’s age, general health, desired results, and the specific characteristics of his or her cancer. Treatments are often used in combination. Since the treatments described in this report represent the standard therapeutic approaches, your physician may not strictly adhere to them.

Treatments aim to eliminate the cancer and/or control symptoms.

Treatment for Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Surgery may be an option for early stages of non-small cell lung cancer. However, this depends on its location; the tumor may be located in an area of the lung that prevents surgical removal. Chemotherapy and radiation may be given prior to surgery to try to shrink the tumor. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be ordered after surgery to kill any cancer cells missed during the procedure.

Sometimes radiation or chemotherapy is used as the primary treatment for lung cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy may also be ordered to help control symptoms.

Treatment for Small Cell Cancer

Small cell cancer is usually treated with radiation and chemotherapy when the disease is caught early. Later, when there is more extensive disease, chemotherapy may be used alone, with radiation used after if the chemotherapy has made the tumor shrink considerably or completely.

All Treatments for Lung Cancer

Select a topic below for a thorough discussion of each lung cancer treatment option:
Surgery
Chemotherapy
Radiation therapy
Photodynamic therapy
YAG laser
Stent placement
Lifestyle changes
Managing the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the government website ClinicalTrials.gov .

Sources:

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association

Bast R. Cancer Medicine e5 . Hamilton, Ontario: B.C. Decker Inc.; 2000.

National Cancer Institute



Last reviewed February 2003 by Jondavid Pollock, MD, PhD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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