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Lung Cancer Treatment

Patient who is undergoing lung cancer treatment

Lung cancer treatment depends on several factors, including the symptoms presented, as well as the type and stage of the cancer. The patient’s health and tolerance to certain treatment procedures and medications will also have to be taken into account.

Depending on the stage of the lung cancer, the aim of treatment may be curative, for prolonging of survival, or it may be palliative.

Treatment Methods

According to the Singapore Cancer Society, the three primary methods of lung cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. There are also other options, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Cancer Surgery – Surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage, and treat cancer. Surgery can also relieve discomfort or problems related to the cancer. Sometimes, a single surgical operation can take care of more than one of these goals. In other cases, multiple operations may be needed over time.

Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy) – Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells. Radiation works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells. These breaks keep cancer cells from growing and dividing and cause them to die. Nearby normal cells can also be affected by radiation, but most recover and go back to working the way they should.

Chemotherapy – This is when medicines or drugs are used to treat cancer. However, not all drugs used to treat cancer work in the same way. Traditional or standard chemotherapy uses drugs that are cytotoxic, meaning they can kill tumour cells.

Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses a person’s own immune system to fight cancer, by boosting or changing how the immune system works so it can find and attack the cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy – Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to precisely identify and attack certain types of cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

Treatment For Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

StageTreatment
I & IISurgery is the treatment of choice to remove the cancer if the patient is well enough to handle it. To reduce the risk of recurrence, radiotherapy or chemotherapy is also recommended after the operation.
IIIThe lung specialist may order radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. Immunotherapy may also be given after the operation,
IVTreatment is mainly palliative or making sure that the patient is comfortable and not in pain. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy immunotherapy, and or radiotherapy may also be recommended by the lung specialist.

Treatment For Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

As SCLC is aggressive and tends to spread early to other organs, it is usually treated with chemotherapy. If the cancer is still localised in the lymph nodes of one lung, radiotherapy can be combined with chemotherapy to effectively treat the cancer and remove the cancer cells. Advanced forms of SCLC may be treated with a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Surgery is usually not recommended for SCLC.

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.