Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
You or someone you care about may have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
This video will help you understand some of the available treatment options.
Lung cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in lung tissues.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.
Non-small cell lung cancer has nine standard treatment options: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, cryotherapy, electrocautery, and watchful waiting.
There are several types of surgery, depending on the size and location of your tumor and how well your lungs are working.
During one type of surgery, called wedge resection surgery, a small piece of a lung is removed.
In another type of surgery, called a lobectomy, a larger piece of the lung, called a lobe, is removed.
During a pneumonectomy, an entire lung is removed.
And, in a sleeve resection, your doctor may remove a part of your bronchus if cancer is in your airway.
Another treatment option is radiation therapy. It uses radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
External radiation therapy uses a machine that aims radiation at the cancer from outside the body.
Internal radiation therapy uses a substance that gives off radiation. The substance is put inside the body, near the cancer.
Chemotherapy fights cancer by using drugs. These drugs may treat the whole body, or they may treat one area.
Targeted therapy uses drugs that target specific cancer cells. These drugs prevent the cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Since these drugs mainly affect the cancer cells, there’s less damage to your normal cells.
Immuno-oncology, also known as immunotherapy, helps your immune system fight cancer.
Cancer can sometimes hide from the immune cells that attack them.
For example, cancer and immune cells may have proteins, called checkpoint proteins.
When they attach, attack from other immune cells is stopped.
Some immunotherapy drugs for lung cancer block the checkpoint proteins from attaching to each other.
As a result, the immune cell can attack and destroy the cancer cell.
In laser therapy, an intense beam of light burns cancer tissue. Photodynamic therapy uses a light-activated drug.
Once the drug enters the body, it collects in cancer cells. Then, fiber optic tubes are put into the body, near the tumor.
Laser light is sent through tubes. The light activates the drug. The activated drug then kills cancer cells.
During cryotherapy, cancer tissue is frozen and destroyed. In electrocautery, a heated instrument destroys cancer tissue by burning it.
And lastly, watchful waiting is done in certain cases of non-small cell lung cancer.
Your doctor closely monitors your condition until symptoms appear or change.
The main treatment options for small cell lung cancer are two of the same ones used to treat non-small cell lung cancer: chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
For either type of lung cancer, your doctor may prescribe a combination of treatments.
If you have questions about lung cancer or any medications you have been prescribed, talk to your doctor.
It is important to take your medications as directed, and report any side effects you have.