Treatment options for cancer include local therapies such as surgery and radiation therapy, and systemic therapies such as chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
You may receive one or a combination of these treatments.
There are several surgical options, depending on the type and stage of the cancer.
During a wedge resection, or segmentectomy, the tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue are removed.
In a lobectomy, or sleeve lobectomy, one lobe of a lung is removed.
During a pneumonectomy, the surgeon removes the entire lung.
In a sleeve resection, a diseased section of a large airway is removed, and the healthy ends are reattached.
During any of these procedures, your surgeon may remove lymph to check them for signs of cancer.
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a local treatment that uses high-energy rays to kill or shrink cancer cells to relieve symptoms.
External beam radiation therapy is directed at the cancer’s location from a machine outside your body.
Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, often in the form of pellets, is most commonly used to help relieve blockage of the large airways by cancer.
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of the cancer cells by either killing them or inhibiting their cell division.
Once the drugs enter the bloodstream they can travel and reach cancer cells throughout the body.
Targeted therapies are newer cancer treatments that work by focusing on specific genetic abnormalities of cancer cells.
One targeted therapy, bevacizumab, starves the tumor by stopping it from creating a new blood supply.
Another targeted therapy, erlotinib, stops tumor growth by blocking the chemicals that signal the cancer cells to grow and divide.