Lung Cancer Treatment
cancer treatment varies greatly depending on the results of the diagnosis, tumor size and the stage of the
cancer. In addition, your oncologist can consider your age and overall health to determine the treatment the
most appropriate and effective to fight the cancer. In general, lung cancer treatment includes surgery,
radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy. If he thinks it can be helpful, your doctor can use a
combination of all the therapies.
If you have a non advanced
lung cancer, your doctor can consider surgical treatment. For the surgical therapy to be considered, the cancer
must be localized or detected at an early stage. The surgery will be excision of a small section of lung that
contains the tumor (wedge resection), one or two lobes of the diseased lung (lobectomy) or the complete removal
of the lung (pneumonectomy) if the tumor has already exceeded boundaries of the lobes. In case surgery is not an
option, your oncologist will recommend other methods: radiotherapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and / or targeted
Surgical treatment offers
the best long-term results provided that a complete resection is performed. However, there can be complications
pain in your chest and arms
Your oncologist may use
radiation therapy if the cancer has invaded other tissues or seat too close to the trachea. Radiotherapy is also
used to treat aggressive lung cancers to prevent the tumor from growing. In these cases, the treatment aims at
preventing complication or reduce bone pain syndrome, compression of the vena cava and compression of nerves in
the spinal cord. Unlike surgery, radiation therapy can be used:
- with radiation
- with surgery
- in advanced or metastatic lung
- In all stages of small cell cancer.
Unlike surgery and
radiation therapy, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. It consists of using very strong chemical substances
that travel the body through the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells. These drugs kill cancer cells of the lung
and those outside the region of the lung (metastasis). The chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth, intravenous
or intramuscular injection; however, intravenous injection is the most common method use in the treatment of
The most common drugs used
in chemotherapy for lung cancer include:
- tyrosine kinase inhibitors
- Folate antagonists.
besides cancer cells, normal cells are also affected by the chemotherapy drugs. This may lead to side effects:
- hair loss
- nausea and
- kidney problems
- And more.
This is a new therapeutic
method used to treat lung cancer; it is very promising. Targeted drug
therapyincludes a group of drugs that target, at a specific level, the development of tumor
cells. They are mainly involved in signal transduction of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK)s by targeting
abnormalities in cancer cells. By acting on specific receptors, these drugs can:
the growth of cancerous cells, thus preventing their proliferation in healthy tissues;
the tumor to transform normal cells into cancerous cells;
the immune system to turn against the cancer cells;
the death of the cancer cell. Cancer cells do not obey to the apoptosis, the natural death of the cell;
targeted drug therapy works by forcing them to commit suicide naturally.
Some drugs widely used to treat lung
Erlotinib: this drug is used in the treatment of advanced by
non-recurrent small cell lung cancers, which were not previously treated with chemotherapy. It intervenes in the
chemical activities of cancer cells to prevent them from growing and dividing. Side effects may
- loss of
- bone or
burning, or tingling of the hands or feet
of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs.
(Avastin) - this drug
works by blocking vascular endothelial
growth factor A (VEGF-A), thus reducing the
growth of new blood vessels, a process that is essential for the growth of any tumor development and
is used to
treat advanced and recurrent non-small
cell lung cancer. Unlike Erlotinib,
Avastin is always used in combination with chemotherapy.
Avastin side effects may
the skin or in the mouth.