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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options by Stage

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Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IIIA Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer that can be removed with surgery may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy followed by surgery.
  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy.
  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Treatment of stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer that cannot be removed with surgery may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given as separate treatments over the same period of time.
  • External radiation therapy alone (for patients who cannot be treated with combined therapy, as palliative treatment to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life).
  • Internal radiation therapy or laser surgery, as palliative treatment to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

For more information about supportive care for symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, see the PDQ summary on Cardiopulmonary Syndromes.

Non-small cell lung cancer of the superior sulcus, often called Pancoast tumor, begins in the upper part of the lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Treatment of Pancoast tumors may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy alone.
  • Radiation therapy followed by surgery.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given as separate treatments over the same period of time, followed by surgery.
  • Surgery alone.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Some stage IIIA non-small cell lung tumors that have grown into the chest wall may be completely removed. Treatment of chest wall tumors may include the following:

  • Surgery.
  • Surgery and radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy alone.
  • Chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy and/or surgery.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IIIB Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy followed by external radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given as separate treatments over the same period of time.
  • Chemotherapy followed by surgery.
  • External radiation therapy alone for patients who cannot be treated with chemotherapy.
  • External or internal radiation therapy as palliative therapy, to relieve pain and other symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Clinical trials of new radiation therapy schedules and new combinations of treatments.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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