Lung Cancer - Treatment Overview
In some cases, chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy may be used before surgery.
Small cell lung cancer grows very
rapidly in most people and is more likely to spread (metastasize) to other
Treatment for small cell lung cancer includes:
- Chemotherapy, which usually is the standard treatment
for this type of lung cancer.
- Radiation therapy, which may help shrink a rapidly
growing large tumor that is causing symptoms.
Radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy to treat
small cell cancer that is limited to the chest.
measures may help relieve some common side effects of your cancer treatment.
For more information, see the Home Treatment section of this topic.
What to think about during initial treatment
If you have been recently diagnosed with lung cancer, you may feel
denial, anger, and grief. Reactions vary from person to person. There are steps you can take to help with your
emotional reactions. If you are having a hard time moving forward with your life, talk
with your doctor. Your cancer treatment center may offer counseling services.
You may also contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to help
you find a support group.
Your quality of life is critical when considering your treatment choices.
Discuss your personal preferences with your
oncologist when he or she recommends treatment.
You may be
interested in participating in research studies called
clinical trials. Clinical trials are based on the most
up-to-date information and are designed to find better ways to treat people who
have cancer. People who do not want standard treatments or are not cured by
standard treatments may want to participate in clinical trials. These are
ongoing in most parts of the United States and in some other countries around
the world for all stages of lung cancer.
For more information about specific lung
cancer treatments, see the topics:
After initial treatment for
lung cancer, it is important to receive follow-up
oncologist will schedule regular checkups, usually
every 3 to 4 months, depending on the therapies used in initial treatment.
After 2 to 3 years, regular checkups will occur less often but more than just
once a year, depending on your medical history.
- Checkups may include a physical exam, blood tests,
chest X-rays, CT scans, or other laboratory tests
recommended by your oncologist.
Radiation therapy may be used to prevent small cell
lung cancer from growing in the brain. This is called prophylactic cranial
irradiation (PCI). PCI may be most beneficial if you have limited small cell
lung cancer and have had successful treatment with chemotherapy and radiation
therapy to the chest. But PCI is not advised for older people whose thinking
process may be impaired.
Treatment if the condition gets worse