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How To Treat Lung Cancer: Common Forms Of Treatment

How To Treat Lung Cancer: Common Forms Of Treatment

Being aware of how to treat lung cancer is very important information to know. This is because it lets patients make informed decisions about their health, so that they can work with their doctor to figure out the best form of treatment for their condition.

But what exactly are the most commonly used forms of treatment, and how effective are these when it comes to treating lung cancer?

How to treat lung cancer: Effective forms of treatment

The methods of how to treat lung cancer can vary from person to person. One of the main considerations that doctors make is with regard to the person’s age, as well as their current state of health.

The reason is that some forms of lung cancer treatment can kill both cancer cells as well as healthy cells. This means that if a person already has a bad state of health, undergoing certain types of lung cancer treatment can possibly make things worse.

This is why doctors use a variety of treatments to help cure a person with cancer. Here are some of the most common and effective forms of treatment:


One method of how to treat lung cancer is through chemotherapy. This is also probably the form of treatment that most people are familiar with.

Chemotherapy involves taking a drug, or a combination of drugs, that can kill off cancer cells in the body. This process lasts for a few months, with some breaks in between, because the chemotherapy can also weaken a patient’s body.

This is because chemotherapy doesn’t necessarily distinguish between healthy cells or cancerous cells. Meaning, when a patient undergoes this treatment, they can feel side effects such as weakness, fatigue, fever, weakened immune system, etc.

Doctors usually recommend chemotherapy after surgery to help get rid of any remaining cancer cells. It is sometimes used in conjunction with radiotherapy to help patients who are not able to undergo surgery.


Radiotherapy is another method of how to treat lung cancer. It works by using radiation, or energy to damage the DNA structure and prevent replication of cancer cells. Doctors use radiotherapy for both small and large tumors, and they also use it to slow down the spread of cancer in patients whose cancer can no longer be cured.

While radiotherapy is safer than chemotherapy, it still carries some side effects such as infertility and increased risk of secondary cancers.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is another way to treat lung cancer. Similar to chemotherapy, targeted therapy uses drugs to kill off cancer cells. However, the main difference is that with targeted therapy, the drugs can attack cancer cells with less harm to healthy cells.

This therapy works by creating an environment that is not conducive to the growth of cancer cells. It does this by blocking certain enzymes and proteins that cancer cells use to grow and multiply.

Doctors also use targeted therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy to completely eradicate cancer from a patient’s body.


Surgery involves a surgeon to physically cut and take out any tumors or cancerous parts of their body. Doctors typically do this in stage I or stage II cancers.

This is an effective way of treating cancer because removing the tumors helps stop the cancer from spreading and multiplying. However, surgery alone is not always enough.

In some cases, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy is done before surgery to reduce the size of a tumor. In other cases, these therapies may be done after a surgery to eliminate remaining cancer cells and prevent recurrence.


Immunotherapy is a method to treat lung cancer that uses the body’s immune system to kill off cancer cells. These agents work by modulating the immune cells to better detect and bind to cancer cells, which prevents growth and spread.

This allows the immune system to directly attack cancer cells. Though, there is a possibility that the immune system might also attack healthy cells, since it can’t distinguish between the two.

Immunotherapy is a relatively new approach but generally patients tolerate it well. However, like all types of cancer therapy, there is still some risk of side effects.

Learn more about Lung Cancer here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Lung cancer – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374627, Accessed March 17, 2021

Lung Cancer 101 | Lungcancer.org, https://www.lungcancer.org/find_information/publications/163-lung_cancer_101/269-non_small_cell_lung_cancer_treatment, Accessed March 17, 2021

How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated? | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/diagnosis_treatment.htm, Accessed March 17, 2021

Lung cancer – Treatment – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lung-cancer/treatment/, Accessed March 17, 2021

Lung Cancer Treatment, https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lung-cancer-therapy, Accessed March 17, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 5 days ago
Medically reviewed by John Paul Ferolino Abrina, M.D.