Treatment for Lung Cancer
Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these methods can be used to treat lung cancer. The treatment plan depends on the type (non-small cell or small cell) and stage of the disease. Patients who qualify also have access to a variety of clinical trials
Surgery is used to treat non-small cell lung cancers that have not spread beyond the lung. The three most common surgical procedures are:
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- wedge resection or segmentectomy to remove of a small section of the lung
- lobectomy to remove an entire section of the lung
- pneumonectomy to remove an entire lung
Patients may receive anti-cancer drugs known as chemotherapy, even after surgery. The drugs destroy cancer cells that may be present in nearby tissue or that have spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy, often combined with radiation therapy, is commonly used to treat small cell lung cancer.
Radiation oncologists can administer high doses of radiation to lung tumors while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. Daily radiation is often used in combination with chemotherapy or surgery to treat advanced lung cancers. Radiosurgery is a non-invasive treatment with high-dose, focused radiation that can cure small tumors in patients who cannot undergo conventional surgery. Radiation therapy can also be used to relieve pain, bleeding and swallowing problems sometimes caused by lung cancer.
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