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Lung Cancer Health Center

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Lung Cancer - Treatment Overview

Treatment for both non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) may include the following:

Other treatments for NSCLC include:

Recommended Related to Lung Cancer

General Information About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC is any type of epithelial lung cancer other than small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The most common types of NSCLC are squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma, but there are several other types that occur less frequently, and all types can occur in unusual histologic variants. Although NSCLCs are associated with cigarette smoke, adenocarcinomas may be found in patients who have never smoked. As a class, NSCLCs are relatively insensitive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy...

Read the General Information About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) article > >

  • Targeted therapy.Targeted therapy is the use of medicines such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies to block cancer growth.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT).PDT uses medicine and a special light to treat cancer.
  • Cryosurgery.Cryosurgery may be used to freeze and destroy lung tumors.
  • Electrocautery. Electrocautery is the use of a low-voltage electrical charge to destroy tumors.
  • Watchful waiting.Watchful waiting means being watched closely by your doctor but not having treatment until you show symptoms or a change of some kind. It is only used in rare cases.

Your doctor may check for tumor markers (biomarkers), such as EGFR, ALK, and KRAS, that are caused by gene changes (mutations) in cancer cells. This can help your doctor choose the treatment that will work best for you.

Other treatments for SCLC include:

  • Endoscopic stent placement. This is done to open a blocked airway so you can breathe more easily. A flexible lighted viewing instrument (endoscope) is used to place a small hollow tube (a stent) in your bronchial tubes if a tumor is making it hard for you to breathe.

The kind of treatment and the long-term outcome of lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer and also on your age and your overall health.

Some treatments can cause side effects. Home treatment measures may help.

Your quality of life is critical when you are considering your treatment choices. Discuss your personal preferences with your oncologist when he or she recommends treatment.

Additional information about lung cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at

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