Treatment of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Six types of standard treatment are used: continued...
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.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment that uses a drug and a
certain type of laser light to kill cancer cells. A drug that is not active
until it is exposed to light is injected into a vein. The drug collects more in
cancer cells than in normal cells. Fiberoptic tubes are then used to deliver
the laser light to the cancer cells, where the drug becomes active and kills
the cells. Photodynamic therapy causes little damage to healthy tissue. It is
used mainly to treat tumors on or just under the skin or in the lining of
Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient’s condition without giving
any treatment until symptoms appear or change. This may be done in certain rare
cases of non-small cell lung cancer.
New types of treatment and prevention are being tested in clinical trials. These include the following:
Chemoprevention is the use of drugs, vitamins, or other substances to reduce
the risk of developing cancer or to reduce the risk cancer will recur (come
Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to
fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to
boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type
of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
New combinations of treatments are being studied in clinical trials.
This summary section refers to specific treatments under study in clinical
trials, but it may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information
about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.