Which Lung Cancer Treatment Is Right for Me?

Lung cancer has many common treatments. For sure we should follow doctors’ advice, but an overall briefing on treatment choices is vital for the decision making.
The treatment depends on the cancer types and stages. The two main types are small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Type one: SCLC

Limited stage
In this stage, the cancer is only on one side of the chest and can be treated with a single radiation field. However, only about 33% people with SCLC belong to this stage after first diagnosis.

1. Surgical Removal
If your condition is very well and can stand the life quality without all lungs, you can choose it to cut out the tumor and its nearby lymph nodes.

2. Surgery + concurrent chemoradiation
For most people in this stage, the tumor is too large to be cut and is easy to spread in the lung.
The standard treatment is concurrent chemoradiation, namely, chemo plus radiation.

Extensive stage
SCLC in this stage, means so fast spreading that surgery or radiation therapy is limitedly useful.

1. Chemotherapy
Chemo here is a basic treatment, and generally helps you relieve symptoms and live longer. The most common chemo combination is etoposide plus either cisplatin or carboplatin.

2. Clinical trials+ Chemotherapy drugs and combinations
Because cancer in this stage is hard to treat, for most patients, all the treatments that may be helpful are worth a try.

3. Radiation therapy + other types of treatment
If cancer growth within the lungs is causing symptoms such as shortness of breath or bleeding, radiation therapy or other types of treatment.

4. Palliative/supportive care
For those with especially poor health, standard chemo will bring strong side effects, and alliative/supportive care with lower doses of chemo is recommended.

Type two: NSCLC
The treatment options for NSCLC are based mainly on seven stages.

1. occult cancer
In this stage, we can only see malignant cells on sputum cytology instead of obvious tumor. Repeated bronchoscopy and other tests every few months is necessary.

2. stage 0 NSCLC
Surgery alone is curable in this stage.

3. stage I NSCLC
Surgery is generally an option for stage I. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) or another type of radiation therapy works as an alternative if you can’t stand surgery out of other health problems. Furthermore, follow-up tests and checks against relapse are needed.

4. stage II NSCLC
Surgery and chemotherapy usually work together is this stage.Chemotherapy is helpful to shrink cancer before surgery. After surgery, chemotherapy can also be a helper for possible second surgery.

5. stage IIIA NSCLC
Treatment here includes some combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.

6. stage IIIB NSCLC
These cancers are hard to treat, except for combination treatment, clinical trial of new treatments may be a good option.

7. stage IV NSCLC
Stage IV NSCLC means the cancer cells have been widespread. Surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or radiation can still make you feel better. But the opportunity to regain health is very small.

 

@lung cancer medicine