The main treatments for lung cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted/ immunotherapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the type of lung cancer, stage of the disease, functioning of lungs and patient`s general health
If cancer has not spread beyond the affected lung and same side of mediastinum, if general health is reasonably good, and if breathing capacity is sufficient, the treatment that gives the best chance of cure is Surgery.
Surgical options for lung cancer are
- Sleeve Resection of tumour
- Non-anatomical/Wedge Resection
- Chest wall resection/ Chest wall tumour resection
- Diagnostic Thoracoscopy
- Thoracoscopic / minimally invasive lobectomy/ pneumonectomy
- Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for patients with small cell carcinoma.
- In non-small cell carcinoma, patient may need chemotherapy after surgery to remove cancer, to increase the chances of cure. This is called ‘adjuvant’ chemotherapy.
Targeted Therapy / Immunotherapy:
- High-energy beams are used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
- Newer techniques of Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) ensure maximum dose to the tumour safeguarding the normal uninvolved part of lung/ heart from adverse effects.
- There is also Gated Radiation Therapy, where the lung tumour is targeted in a particular phase of the breathing cycle.
- Some people, usually non-smokers are suitable for a newer class of drugs that are designed to act against specific genes/ mutations in lung cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy / immunotherapy is used in advanced lung cancer patients and improves survival.
- These drugs can also be taken by pill or by IV.