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

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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.

For more information about supportive care for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, see the following PDQ summaries:

  • Cardiopulmonary Syndromes
  • Pain

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 IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • Maintenance therapy with an anticancer drug to help keep cancer from progressing, after combination chemotherapy.
  • Combination chemotherapy and targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody.
  • Targeted therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
  • External radiation therapy as palliative therapy, to relieve pain and other symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Laser therapy and/or internal radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of new drugs and combinations of treatments.
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