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davidtrump

Lung Cancer : Treatment

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Treatment

You and your doctor choose a cancer treatment plan based on a number of factors, such as your overall health, the type and stage of your cancer, and your preferences.

Your care team may include:

Oncologists
Pathologists
Pulmonologists
Radiation oncologists
Radiologists
Thoracic surgeons
Other specialists as needed, including doctors who specialize in palliative care

Having a multidisciplinary team of experts on your side means all of your doctors are on the same page. This is especially beneficial when it comes to coordinating complex treatment protocols involving multiple therapies.

In some cases, you may choose not to undergo treatment. For instance, you may feel that the side effects of treatment will outweigh the potential benefits. When that's the case, your doctor may suggest comfort care to treat only the symptoms the cancer is causing, such as pain or shortness of breath

Surgery

During surgery your surgeon works to remove the lung cancer and a margin of healthy tissue. Procedures to remove lung cancer include:

  • Wedge resection to remove a small section of lung that contains the tumor along with a margin of healthy tissue
  • Segmental resection to remove a larger portion of lung, but not an entire lobe
  • Lobectomy to remove the entire lobe of one lung
  • Pneumonectomy to remove an entire lung

If you undergo surgery, your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes from your chest in order to check them for signs of cancer.

Surgery may be an option if your cancer is confined to the lungs. If you have a larger lung cancer, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy before surgery in order to shrink the cancer. If there's a risk that cancer cells were left behind after surgery or that your cancer may recur, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery.

Advanced surgical techniques such as minimally invasive surgery and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) may reduce the amount of time you need to spend in the hospital after lung cancer surgery and may help you return to your normal activities sooner. Research shows that people who undergo minimally invasive lung cancer surgery at hospitals that perform many of these operations every year tend to experience less pain and fewer complications.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams from sources such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a machine moves around you, directing radiation to precise points on your body.

For people with locally advanced lung cancer, radiation may be used before surgery or after surgery. It's often combined with chemotherapy treatments. If surgery isn't an option, combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be your primary treatment.

For advanced lung cancers and those that have spread to other areas of the body, radiation therapy may help relieve symptoms, such as pain.

When compared with standard radiation therapy techniques, newer and precisely targeted treatments may be more effective and cause fewer side effects. 

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