Tuesday, 8 January 2013

About Lung Cancer Treatment

  1. Lung Cancer Surgery

    • The goal of any surgery as a treatment for lung cancer is to remove as much of the diseased tissue as possible. There are different operations surgeons perform, with the amount of cancer present in the lung deciding which is employed. A wedge resection removes a section of the lung that is cancerous as well as a small margin of tissue around that area. A lobectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon takes out the lobe of a lung while the entire lung is surgically removed during a pneumonectomy. During lung cancer surgeries it is not uncommon for the lymph nodes surrounding the lungs to also be removed to assess whether the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. Some of the side effects patients may experience after lung cancer surgery is potential bleeding and infection as well as pain and being short of breath until the lung tissues have had a chance to expand.


    • Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment in which a patient receives dosages of special drugs that kill cancer cells. The majority of patients that suffer from small cell lung cancer will undergo some sort of chemotherapy treatment since that type of cancer usually travels through the blood and into other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is often used before cancer surgery to shrink the size of tumors and after surgery even if it appears all of the cancer was removed in an attempt to destroy any microscopic cancer cells that still remain. Chemotherapy agents can be taken orally in pill form or through a vein. Combinations of drugs are frequently utilized and chemotherapy often comes with side effects such as nausea, dizziness and the possible loss of hair. When the chemotherapy is complete these side effects gradually go away.


    • The use of radiation to attack cancer cells and annihilate them is known as radiation therapy. Lung cancer radiation therapy is available in one form called external beam therapy in which a machine produces focused beams of radiation that is directed at the area of the cancer. Another type of radiation therapy for lung cancer is called brachytherapy, or internal radiation. Doctors will insert radioactive particles as close to the site of the cancer as possible in order to maximize the effect of the treatment. Radiation therapy is often used on lung cancer patients in addition to chemotherapy. It is commonly employed after surgery to kill any cancer that may have escaped detection.

    Targeting Cancer

    • The abnormalities that exist in cancer cells can be targeted by certain drugs in a treatment for cancer called targeted drug therapy. In cases of lung cancer drugs such as Avastin and Tarceva are used for this purpose. Avastin is normally given in conjunction with chemotherapy and has the effect of keeping tumors from accessing a blood supply, effectively helping to destroy them Tarceva can keep cancer cells from reproducing. However, drugs of this nature come with side effects such as risk of bleeding and diarrhea.

    Treatment by Stage

    • The stages of lung cancer describe how extensive the cancer has become, with Stage I cancer much less advanced than higher stages. Surgery is the most common choice to treat Stage I non-small cell cancer while at Stage II surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation will be the option. As non-small lung cancer advances through surgery is no longer an option and chemotherapy is the treatment that offers the most hope, with radiation sometimes possible. The worst stage of the disease, Stage IV, is when targeted drug therapy along with chemotherapy will be the treatment. Sometimes the prognosis is so poor that the best treatment is to simply try to make the patient as comfortable as possible. In cases of small cell lung cancers there is no staging levels. It is described as either being limited or extensive. Treatments for limited small cell lung cancer will include chemotherapy and radiation, with surgery sometimes a potential option while extensive instances of this disease are treated with chemotherapy and supportive care.

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