If you're a smoker or have other risks for lung cancer, you may want to get a screening test that can help your doctor find the disease before you notice any symptoms. The heads up would let you start treatment early, when the condition is easier to fight.
If your screening shows you may have lung cancer, your doctor will likely order up "diagnostic" tests. Those can pinpoint the type of the disease and whether it's spread to other places in the body.
This is an option when the cancer hasn’t spread too far in your body. It’s usually the best way to treat non-small-cell lung cancer.
Your doctor can remove the part of the lung that has the tumor and the tissue around it. Or you may need to have your entire lung removed. You might also need radiation or chemotherapy after surgery.
After the operation, you might need to stay in the hospital for about a week to heal before you go home to recover. However, minimally invasive procedures are being used more and more often. If you opt for one of those, you may get a tiny incision in the chest. Your surgeon will use a thoracoscope, a flexible tube that is used to examine the chest and get rid of tissue.
If you have small-cell lung cancer, it might not be possible to remove it in an operation.
If you have non-small cell lung cancer and can’t have surgery, this treatment may be an option.
Your doctor guides a thin needle through your skin until it touches the tumor inside your lung. Then an electric current passes through it to heat and kill the cancer cells.
Doctors use a machine to point high-energy X-rays at a tumor to destroy it. It works for both non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancers.
You get radiation treatments a few days at a time over several weeks. You might get it before surgery to shrink a tumor to make it easier to remove, or after surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind. Some people get it in combination with chemotherapy.
It can also help relieve some of the symptoms of lung cancer, such as pain or bleeding.