Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Options

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Options

The main reason for lung cancer is the outgrowing cells in the lungs. This is when the size of the cells gets out of control and become uncontrollably large in size. Furthermore, the cancer cells multiply and form into a tumor; this tumor then spreads to other areas of the body.

There are two main types of lung cancers: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Almost 80% of the lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancers, while only 15% are small cell lung cancers. Read on to find out the treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer.

Most of the stage I and stage II lung cancers are treated with the help of surgery. This surgery involves making a cut in the chest of the sufferer and removing the lobe or the section of the lungs that is carrying the tumor. Surgeons are resorting to video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for these stages. The procedure involves makes a small incision and inserting a thoracoscope. This device has a small camera and a light that records the footage and transmits it to a monitor. A lobe can be removed from the chest without making a large incision through this process.

Immunotherapy is a new form of treatment for lung cancer that has emerged recently. Most of the treatments for cancer have their side effects, but this one is light on the number and potency of the side effects it can have. As the name suggests, immunotherapy uses our immune system to fight against the growing cancer cells. The immune system has the potential to fight most conditions such as viruses, infections, and cancer cells. The initial immunotherapy medicine—nivolumab—was approved by the FDA in March 2015 while the new immunotherapy medicine—pembrolizumab—was approved in 2016.

Chemotherapy is used as a post-treatment option for the surgery. This is only applicable for the lung cancer tumor that can be removed with the help of surgery. This type of chemotherapy that is conducted post the surgery is known as adjuvant chemotherapy. It is usually undertaken to ensure that the tumor does not reoccur. This type of chemotherapy is used particularly for people with Stage I and Stage III A cancer. If the cancer cannot be removed with the help of surgery, the doctor is most likely to recommend a chemotherapy with along with a high-dose radiation treatment.

Chemotherapy prior to other treatments
This type of chemotherapy is independent and does not have any relation with a surgery or radiation treatment. It works in reducing the size of the tumor so that it comes down to a size that is ideal to be removed with the help of surgery. Stage III cancer can be treated with the help of chemotherapy and then surgery. This form of chemotherapy is known as neoadjuvant treatment. Once the size of the tumor is reduced, it increases the chances of radiation therapy destroying the cancer cells. The effects of this form of treatment can be notice quickly. The size of the tumor is observed and if there are no changes observed, this form of treatment can be stopped. The doctor can then opt for a different form of treatment.