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How can lung cancer be treated ?

The most important factors are the histopathologic (diseased tissue) type of lung cancer and the stage of the cancer. Once the stage of the lung cancer has been determined, the oncology team and the patient work together to develop a treatment plan.
About one-third of lung cancer patients are diagnosed with localized disease that may be treated by surgical resection. Another third of patients have disease that has already spread to the lymph nodes. In these cases, radiation therapy along with chemotherapy and occasionally surgery is used. The last third of patients may have tumors that have already spread to other parts of the body via the blood stream and are typically treated with chemotherapy and sometimes with radiation therapy for the relief of symptoms.


Surgical resection (cutting away) of the tumor generally is indicated for cancer that has not spread beyond the lung. Surgery may not be possible if the cancer is too close to the trachea or if the person has other serious conditions (such as severe heart or lung disease) that would limit their ability to tolerate an operation. Thoracotomy, which is performed throught the chest wall, and median sternotomy, which is performed by cutting through the breastbone, are standard methods used for lung cancer surgery.
After surgery, potential side effects include:
Pain: One of the most common side effects associated with surgery. Some surgery for lung cancer requires cutting through the ribs and/or cutting a nerve. This can take several months to heal.
Infection: Infections at the site of the wound and inside the body are another possible side effect. Antibiotics give by a doctor are able to treat most infections.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) may be effective for the treatment of lung cancer. It uses high-energy rays, similar to X-rays, but stronger, to kill or shrink cancer cells. Radiation therapy is usually spaced over a number of weeks or months because the doses needed to kill cancer cells cannot be given all at once. The number of treatments a patient receives depends on the type and extent of the tumor, as well as the radiation dosage and how the patient is affected by the treatment. It has many uses in lung cancer:
– As primary treatment.
– Before surgery to shrink the tumor.
– After surgery to eliminate any cancer cells that remain in the treated area.
– To treat lung cancer that has spread to the brain or other areas of the body.
Besides attacking the tumor, radiotherapy can help to relieve some of the symptoms it causes such as shortness of breath. Most often, radiation therapy is delivered by the external beam technique, which aims a beam of x-rays directly at the tumor.

– Fatigue.
– Eating problems.
– Hair Loss.
– Skin reactions.

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