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Treatment Lung Cancer - Facts about Treatment for Lung Cancer - Surgical Removal of the Tumor, Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy

surgery methods method usually

Treatment for lung cancer can be a very frightening thing. Simply hearing the words that you have lung cancer is terrifying, but understanding the various treatment methods that are available can help patients deal with it a little bit. There are three basic types of treatment for lung cancer available, and a patient’s treatment plan can consist of just one of these methods or any combination of them. Let us take a closer look at all three methods.

Surgical Removal of the Tumor

If the lung cancer is caught early enough, then surgery is usually one of the first methods used to remove the tumor. Doctors prefer this method for cancer that is still in the lung and is only affecting a small enough part of the lung that it can be taken out safely without affecting the patient’s ability to breathe. A small amount of the lung cancer cases that are diagnosed are actually able to be removed completely by surgery. Surgery may not be a possible treatment for lung cancer if the tumor is located in certain parts of the lung, like near the windpipe. Also up to 40 percent of tumors in the lung that are removed surgically will come back within five years, so often surgery is not the only treatment for lung cancer used. Side effects and risks of surgery include difficulty breathing, pain, weakness, bleeding, and infection.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is a potential treatment method for patients with mild to severe lung cancer. It uses high energy X-rays or other kinds of radiation to actually kill the cancer cells. It is often used in combination with either surgery or the third method of treatment for lung cancer, which is chemotherapy. Radiation can be delivered externally through a machine or internally by placing tiny, radioactive substances in the body. Internal radiation usually involves placing a small pellet of radiation right in or next to the tumor. Radiation is often the method of choice if the cancer has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, if the patient refuses surgery, or if the tumor is in a part of the lung which makes it inoperable. Potential side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue, low white blood cell count, skin problems, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Chemotherapy

The third option for treatment of lung cancer is chemotherapy. This involves using certain drugs that kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the other two treatment methods. Chemotherapy is usually the treatment of choice for very severe cases of lung cancer in which it has spread throughout the body. In cases when doctors do not think the lung cancer can be completely cured, chemotherapy can help to prolong the patient’s life for many months. Chemotherapy is typically given in pill form or intravenously, usually in an outpatient setting. Side effects for chemotherapy include fatigue, weight loss, infections, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sores in the mouth. .

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