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Chemotherapy – a method to treat lung cancer.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs given by mouth or injection to destroy cancer cells that may have spread beyond the tumor. There are many types of chemotherapy drugs, and they may be given in combination with each other, and also in combination with surgery and radiation. Chemotherapy may be given as pills, as an intravenous infusion, or as a combination of the two. Chemotherapy treatments usually are given in an outpatient setting. A combination of drugs is given in a series of treatments, called cycles, over a period of weeks to months, with breaks in between cycles.

Both NSCLC and SCLC may be treated with chemotherapy.

Small-cell lung cancer: Chemotherapy is the mainstay of the treatment for SCLC. Radiation therapy is often used along with chemotherapy to treat lung tumors that have not spread beyond the chest or other organs. Surgery is not commonly used in SCLC due to its tendency to spread quickly.

Non-small-cell lung cancer: Patients diagnosed as having NSCLC in its earliest stages are candidates for surgical resection with a realistic hope of curing the disease. More recently, chemotherapy is added after surgery to treat patients with any tumor spread to the lymph nodes or to treat large tumors that remain after surgery.

When Is Chemotherapy Used?

– As an adjunct (in addition) to surgery.
– To shrink a tumor before surgery.
– To cure cancer.
– To prolong life in those with advanced cancer.

Side effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapeutic drugs affect normal cells, too. It is important to know side effects of chemotherapy vary depending on the type of chemotherapy and how the patient responds.
– Nausea and vomiting.
– Hair loss.
– Fatigue.
– Infections.
– Bleeding.
– Mouth sores.
– Loss of appetite.
– Diarrhea.
– Weight loss.
– Anemia.

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