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Treatment Options Available For Lung Cancer

Treatment Options Available For Lung Cancer

Learning that you or someone in your family has lung cancer can be overwhelming. But once you recover from the initial shock, the natural next step would be forming a plan to beat cancer. What are the available treatment options for lung cancer in the Philippines?

Lung Cancer In The Philippines

Lung cancer staging

The best lung cancer treatment usually depends on the type of cancer and its stage, which the doctor can find out through staging.

Basically, there are two primary types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – Up to 85% of lung cancer cases are under this type. Microscopically, NSCLC is composed of larger cells.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – This type is composed of smaller cells. SCLC is less common, accounting for 10 to 15% of cases. Another important thing to note is that SCLC spreads faster. Almost 70% of people already have metastasis (cancer spread) by their diagnosis.

The stages of these two types are different. NSCLC can be anywhere from Stage 0 (cancer in place) to Stage 4 (advanced stage). On the other hand, SCLC only has two stages: limited and extensive.

Finally, the treatment and prognosis of these two types also vary.

reatment available for lung cancer

Available treatment options for lung cancer

According to the Philippine Cancer Society, the most common treatments of lung cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

For some patients, a doctor may also recommend targeted therapy.

Here are the things you need to know about them:

Surgery

Surgery involves physically removing the tumor in the lungs or the lymph nodes it has spread into.

This is usually the go-to procedure for a small tumor that hasn’t spread anywhere else (Stage 0 to Stage 1). The doctor may also recommend a combination of surgery and other therapies for Stage 2 and some cases of Stage 3 lung cancers.

It’s also possible to recommend surgery and other therapies to limited-stage small-cell lung cancer patients, but it’s usually not an option for those in the extensive stage.

Radiotherapy

In radiation therapy, doctors use radiation to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing.

They usually do not recommend radiotherapy for Stage 0 cancer patients, but it can be beneficial for Stage 1 lung cancer.

The use of radiation for patients in stages 2 through 4 is possible but may come with conditions. For instance, the doctor may recommend external radiation therapy to Stage 2 cancer patients if they cannot have surgery. Stage 3 patients may have surgery combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Do we use radiation to treat patients with small-cell lung cancer? Radiation is actually a standard treatment option, especially for those who have extensive-stage SCLC.

Everything You Need to Know About Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a widely available treatment for lung cancer. It uses drugs to kill cancer cells and is systemic, which means the drugs will affect cancer cells anywhere they may be. In fact, chemo can also affect the body’s normal cells.

For this reason, doctors might not recommend it for Stage 0 and Stage 1 lung cancer. Patients with Stage 2 cancer may receive chemotherapy treatment before or after their surgery. Late-stage cancers often use chemotherapy along with radiotherapy. And of course, chemotherapy is also a common treatment for SCLC.

Please note that people attending chemotherapy sessions may receive one drug at a time or a combination of medications simultaneously.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy also uses drugs, but unlike chemotherapy, they target specific changes in the cancer cells. As such, they may pose less harm to normal cells. It is usually given along with the other available treatment options for lung cancer.

The doctor may recommend targeted therapy to patients with non-small cell lung cancer, but it’s usually not given for SCLC.

Cancer: All You Need to Know

Key Takeaways

The best lung cancer treatment usually depends on the type and stage of cancer. The most common options are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.

A small tumor that hasn’t spread may respond well to surgery, but a combination of the other therapies may be necessary if it has already spread or progressed.

Learn more about Lung Cancer here.

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

Sources

What Is Lung Cancer?
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/what-is.html
Accessed January 13, 2020

How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version
Accessed January 13, 2020

Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version
https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq#_480
Accessed January 13, 2020

Lung cancer
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374627
Accessed January 13, 2020

On Lung Cancer
http://www.philcancer.org.ph/on-lung-cancer/
Accessed January 13, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. on Jan 16
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