There are different types of treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Different types of treatments are available for patients with non-small cell
lung cancer. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and
some are being tested in clinical trials. Before starting treatment, patients
may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. A treatment clinical
trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain
information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials
show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new
treatment may become the standard treatment.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information
about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site. Choosing the
most appropriate cancer treatment is a decision that ideally involves the
patient, family, and health care team.
As far as treatment goes, if the lung cancer can be successfully removed with surgery, the patient has an excellent chance of surviving at least one year, and usually a better than 50% chance of living for five years or more after that. The challenge is detecting lung cancer early enough to make surgery possible.
Wedge resection: Surgery to remove a
triangle-shaped slice of tissue. Wedge resection is used to remove a tumor and
a small amount of normal tissue around it. When a slightly larger amount of
tissue is taken, it is called a segmental resection.
Lobectomy: Surgery to remove a whole lobe
(section) of the lung.
Pneumonectomy: Surgery to remove one whole
Sleeve resection: Surgery to remove part of the
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or
other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation
therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send
radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive
substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed
directly into or near the cancer.
Radiosurgery is a method of delivering radiation directly to the tumor with
little damage to healthy tissue. It does not involve surgery and may be used to
treat certain tumors in patients who cannot have surgery.
The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the
cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of
cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from
dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or
muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout
the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the
spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly
affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the
chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being
Laser therapy is a cancer treatment that uses a laser beam (a narrow beam of
intense light) to kill cancer cells.