Lung Cancer

Find the latest information about Lung Cancer here at No Surrender. A debilitating disease, it is important that research into Lung Cancer treatment is continued in order to help the many sufferers and their families.

If you have experienced or are living with Lung Cancer, please tell us your story.

Lung Cancer Treament Types

Surgery is the preferred lung cancer treatment type for patients with early stage NSCLC. Unfortunately, 60-80% of all patients who have advanced or metastatic diseases are not suitable for surgery. A portion of a lobe, a full lobe, or an entire lung may be removed. The extent of removal depends on the size of the tumour, its location, and how far it has spread. A technique called cryosurgery is sometimes used for NSCLC. Cure rates for small peripheral cancers are around 80%. Despite complete surgical removal, a large proportion of patients with early stage cancer have recurrence of cancer and die from it.

Surgery is not widely used in SCLC as the cancer spreads widely and rapidly through the body and removing it all by surgery is usually impossible. An operation for lung cancer is major surgery. Many people experience pain, weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath after surgery. Most have problems moving around, coughing, and breathing deeply. The recovery period can be several weeks or even months.

Lung Cancer - Medications

Chemotherapy uses powerful medicines to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is the most effective therapy for small cell lung cancer. It can help control the growth and spread of the cancer, but it cures lung cancer in only a small number of people. Chemotherapy also may be used to treat more advanced stages of non-small cell lung cancer.

Medication Choices

Bevacizumab is an intravenous (IV) drug that helps prevent formation of blood vessels that supply the tumour with nutrients and help the cancer grow and multiply. Bevacizumab may be used with other chemotherapy drugs, such as carboplatin and paclitaxel, for treating non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung Cancer - Other Treatment

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting materials that produce radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes into the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy, also called brachytherapy). Radiation therapy is often used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy or both. People who cannot have surgery may have stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). In SBRT, high doses of radiation therapy are targeted to the cancer.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation uses a small needle inserted through the skin and into the tumour. Energy passes through the needle into the tumour. This heats and kills cancer cells. It also closes up the little blood vessels in the area leading to reduced bleeding.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy uses a narrow beam of very intense light to destroy cancer cells. Laser therapy usually is used as a palliative care to remove tumours that block the airway. Laser therapy does not cure lung cancer.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses laser light and a special light-activated substance (Photofrin) to kill cancer cells. It is approved for palliative treatment to destroy tumours that block the airway but it does not cure the lung cancer. Few lung cancers are treated with this therapy. Surgery is still the standard treatment for early-stage lung cancer.

In clinical trials, PDT appears to help relieve coughing, shortness of breath, and coughing up bloody mucus. Additional research is being done.

Cautery

Cautery is used to burn (cauterize) and remove tumours that block the airway.

Other Treatment Choices

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy may relieve shortness of breath. It may be used after surgery or if there is an infection like pneumonia.

Thoracentesis

Thoracentesis is used to remove fluid from around the lungs (pleural effusion). A large amount of fluid may cause pain and shortness of breath.

Pleurodesis

Pleurodesis is used to prevent fluid build-up around the lungs. Pleurodesis is commonly used to treat fluid build-up around the lung that returns after repeated thoracentesis.

Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Treatment by Stage

Occult Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Treatment of occult non-small cell lung cancer depends on where the cancer has spread. It can usually be cured by surgery.

Stage 0 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stage II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stage IIIA and Stage IIIB Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Three types of standard treatment are used:

Surgery

Surgery may be used if the cancer is found in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes only. Because this type of lung cancer is usually found in both lungs, surgery alone is not often used and other therapies including laser therapy may be used in conjunction.

In some cases patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy as an adjuvant therapy, after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may be left behind.

Chemotherapy

Systemic and/or regional chemotherapy may be administered depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Radiation therapy

External and/or internal radiation therapy may also be given depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Treatment by Stage

Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer