Nowadays, you will find lung cancer treatment options in a greater choice than ever before. Although they are not nice, most have advanced to offer minimal damage along with the greatest possibility of recovery. Early detection continues to be very desirable, because it helps make possible the greatest range of options.
Lung cancer treatment options depend on the form as well as stage of the cancer. Stages are usually numbered I-IV with the smaller numbers being the less severe.
The lower number is normally treated by means of surgical procedures while the higher numbers typically involve a combination of surgical treatment, chemotherapy and radiation.
Only your doctor, following a comprehensive diagnosis and consultation with a specialist, can advise which is the best lung cancer treatment for your particular situation.
Lung Cancer Treatment Surgery
When the tumors are small and well confined, a procedure known as wedge resection might be carried out. With this method, a small segment that contains the cancerous growth along with a surrounding thin layer of healthy tissue is taken away.
A lobectomy is normally the next step up. This is employed for more advanced cases when the tumors have grown in size and/or increased, or populate various areas of the lung. In this case, a complete lobe of one lung is surgically removed. Once the malignancy has spread to make that insufficient, a whole lung might be taken out, an operation known as a pneumonectomy.
In some instances, should the surgeon consider it justified at the time, several lymph nodes inside the chest may also be removed. The lymph system carries a type of fluid through the entire body, in parallel with the blood vessels. That can make it a tragically effective delivery vehicle for spreading cancerous cells through the entire body. If the cancer cells are thought to have entered one or more lymph nodes, removing them can forestall that issue.
Lung Cancer Treatment Chemotherapy
In the event, that cancer of the lung has reached Stage II or above, chemotherapy is invariably required. A multitude of drugs are available for either reducing the size or eliminating tumors and quite often a cocktail of them is specifically created for each patient.
The drugs can be delivered either intravenously in some cases or orally in others. The objective is to destroy the cancer cells without causing unnecessary harm to the patient, although side effects typically include nausea or vomiting along with other ill effects, like loss of hair. Dependent upon the type of tumor as well as individual circumstances, doctors may utilize a combination of surgery, followed by chemotherapy just to make sure.
Treatment regimes may last a couple weeks to a few months. More recent treatments involve the use of much more targeted medications, in an effort to eliminate just the cancer cells and minimize unwanted side effects. Bevacizumab, for instance, works by reducing the tumor’s ability to grow (something it makes possible by boosting surrounding blood vessels for its own nourishment). Erlotinib, in comparison, blocks the chemical signals that tell tumor cells to divide.
Lung Cancer Treatment Radiation
Radiation, usually a source of x-rays or gamma rays (high-energy, invisible light), is among the most well known of modern day treatment options.
Treatment methods vary, but in one form, a smallish element of radioactive material, like radioactive Cobalt or Iodine, is positioned close to the cancerous growth and the rays it emanates destroy nearby tumor cells. The radiation interferes with the ability of the cancer cells to divide, because it destroys their genetic make-up or DNA.
Although excessive radiation is known to produce cancers, in controlled doses and properly targeted, it is able to destroy tumors. The secret, not surprisingly, is to eliminate the growth while doing minimal damage to surrounding tissues and organs, which can often create more problems than it solves.
Fortunately, because of innovative technology along with improved knowledge of radiations effects, that is achievable. Nevertheless, due to its inherent risks, it is usually only appropriate for more advanced cases and is employed along with various other lung cancer treatment options.