Lung Cancer Treatment

The type of treatment patient will receive for lung cancer depends on several factors, including:

  • The type of lung cancer patient have (non-small-cell or small-cell cancer)
  • The size and position of the cancer
  • How far advanced patient cancer is (the stage)
  • Patient overall health

The main treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Depending on patient type of cancer and how advanced it is, patient may receive a combination of these treatments. Patient treatment plan will depend on whether patient have non-small-cell lung cancer or small-cell lung cancer.

If patient have non-small-cell lung cancer that is confined to one lung and patient are in good general health, patient will probably have surgery to remove the cancerous cells. This may be followed by a course of chemotherapy to destroy any cancer cells that may have remained in the body.

Small-cell lung cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, either on its own or in combination with radiotherapy. This can help prolong life and relieve symptoms.

There are three types of lung cancer surgery:

  • Lobectomy – where one or more large parts of the lung (called lobes) are removed. Patient doctors will suggest this operation if the cancer is just in one section of one lung.
  • Pneumonectomy – where the entire lung is removed. This is used when the cancer is located in the middle of the lung or has spread throughout the lung.
  • Wedge resection or segmentectomy – where a small piece of the lung is removed. This procedure is only suitable for a small number of patients as it is only used if patient doctors think patient cancer is small and limited to one area of the lung. This is usually very early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.

An intensive course of radiotherapy, known as radical radiotherapy, can be used to try to cure non-small-cell lung cancer if the person is not healthy enough for surgery. For very small tumours, a special type of radiotherapy called stereotactic radiotherapy may be used instead of surgery.