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Friday, Sep 22nd

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Lung Cancer Treatment

Surgery is the usual treatment for lung cancer, but only half the cases are operable at the time of diagnosis. This may involve the removal of a cancerous tumor or an entire lobe of the lung. Because many cases of lung cancer are not diagnosed until they are fairly well advanced, radiation and chemotherapy are also often necessary.

Surgery
Surgery Stages of a lung cancer:

Stages of a lung cancer Stage 1
Stages of a lung cancer Stage 2
Stages of a lung cancer Stage 3
Stages of a lung cancer Stage 4
 
Depending on the type and stage of a lung cancer, surgery may be used to remove the cancer and some of the surrounding lung tissue. If a lobe (section) of the lung is removed, it is called a lobectomy. If the entire lung is removed, the surgery is called a pneumonectomy. Removing part of a lobe is known as a segmentectomy or wedge resection. These operations involve general anesthesia (the patient is “Asleep”) and a thoracotomy, making a surgical incision in the chest. The patient usually returns home after one to two weeks in the hospital. Possible complications include excessive bleeding, wound infections, and pneumonia. Because the surgeon must cut through ribs to get to the lung, these will hurt for some time after surgery. There will be some limitations to strenuous activity for at least a month. Some patients with lung cancers that have spread to certain sites like the brain may benefit from removal of a brain metastasis. This involves a craniotomy (surgery through a hole in the skull). It should only be done if the tumor can be removed without damage to the brain.

Radiation Therapy Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation therapy uses radiation delivered from outside the body that is focused on the cancer. This is the type of radiation therapy most often used to treat a primary lung cancer or its metastases to other organs.

Brachytherapy uses a small pellet of radioactive material placed directly into the cancer or into the airway next to the cancer. Radiation therapy is sometimes used as the main (primary) treatment of lung cancer, especially in some patients, whose general health is too poor to undergo surgery. Brachytherapy can be used to help relieve blockage of large airways by cancer.

Chemotherapy for lung cancer
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy from lung cancer uses anticancer drugs that are injected into a vein or by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and reach all areas of the body, making this treatment useful for cancer that has spread or metastasized to organs beyond the lung. Depending on the type and stage of lung cancer, chemotherapy may be given as the main (primary) treatment or as an addition (adjuvant) to surgery. Chemotherapy for lung cancer generally uses a combination of anticancer drugs. Cisplatin or a related drug, carboplatin, are the chemotherapy drugs most used.

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells but also damage some normal cells. Therefore, careful attention must be given to avoid or minimize side effects which depend on the type of drugs, the amount taken, and the length of treatment. Temporary side effects might include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of hair, and mouth sores. Because chemotherapy can damage the blood–producing cells of the bone marrow, patients may have low blood cell counts. This can result in an increased risk of infection (due to a shortage of white blood cells), bleeding or bruising after minor cuts or injuries (due to a shortage of blood platelets), and fatigue or shortness of breath (due to low red blood cell counts). Since nerves can be damaged by cisplatin, patients often feel numbness, particularly in their fingers and toes, and sometimes some weakness of their arms and legs.

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