Aug 20, 2009 5:15 PM
When cancer of the lung is small, and is limited to the lung, surgery may be the best treatment. This usually involves an operation to remove either a portion of the lung (lobectomy) or the entire lung. This surgery may be done by general surgeons or by thoracic surgeons. When the cancer is limited to the lung, other treatments may not be required. Visit the American Cancer Society for more information.
Cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes in the chest, or are present in patients who cannot have a major operation may be best treated by radiation therapy (external beam). This treatment is generally given on a daily basis, over a six to seven week period. Sometimes, chemotherapy is used along with radiation to improve the chances of making the cancer shrink and potentially curing the cancer.
Lung cancers frequently spread beyond the lung, which makes treatment with surgery and with radiation therapy not as effective. When it is very likely that the cancer has spread beyond the lung, chemotherapy may be used to try to control the cancer. Chemotherapy usually is given into a vein, and circulates throughout the body to work wherever tumor cells might be. There are many types of chemotherapy drugs, and many combinations. The specific drugs used for your cancer will be selected based on the type and extent of your cancer.