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

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.

Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Occult NSCLC Treatment

In occult lung cancer, a diagnostic evaluation often includes chest x-ray and selective bronchoscopy with close follow-up (e.g., computed tomography scan), when needed, to define the site and nature of the primary tumor; tumors discovered in this fashion are generally early stage and curable by surgery. After discovery of the primary tumor, treatment involves establishing the stage of the tumor. Therapy is identical to that recommended for other NSCLC patients with similar stage disease. Standard...

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

  • Combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the chest. Radiation therapy to the brain may later be given to patients with complete responses.
  • Combination chemotherapy alone for patients who cannot be given radiation therapy.
  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy.
  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain may be given to patients who have had a complete response, to prevent the spread of cancer to the brain.
  • Clinical trials of new chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatments.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with limited stage 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.

Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

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

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain, spine, bone, or other parts of the body where the cancer has spread, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain may be given to patients who have had a complete response, to prevent the spread of cancer to the brain.
  • Clinical trials of new chemotherapy treatments.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with extensive stage 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.

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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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