If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, your treatment will depend on the stage of the disease. This is based on the TNM staging system, which classifies cancer according to the size and extent of the primary tumour, the extent of cancer’s spread, and its proximity to nearby organs (such as the adrenal glands and liver). The treatment options for lung cancer depend on whether the cancer has spread to other body parts or has remained within the lungs. Your doctor may choose to perform a pneumonectomy, which involves the removal of the entire lung.
Non-small cell lung cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer is a type of lung cancer that begins in the cells that line the airways and produce mucus. Smoking is the most common risk factor for this type of cancer, which is responsible for over half of all lung cancer cases. However, non-smokers can still develop the disease. Fortunately, the risk of developing this type of cancer declines as you age.
Some treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include immunotherapy, which uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer cells. The drugs used are called immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can help boost the immune system’s ability to fight the disease. Some patients also receive laser therapy, which uses a narrow beam of intense light to treat tumors.
While surgery is still the gold standard for treating NSCLC, many patients are not candidates for surgery. In such cases, radiation therapy may be prescribed instead. Some patients may also receive adjuvant chemotherapy. The treatment of stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancer may include surgery, external radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
The best way to fight non-small cell lung cancer is to seek early diagnosis. Early detection is crucial, as cancer cells spread through the body.
While secondhand smoke is not directly linked to lung cancer, studies have shown a link between it and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke causes 46,000 deaths yearly from heart disease and 3,400 deaths from cancer. Secondhand smoke harms people of all ages and is a leading cause of preventable deaths, including cancer and heart disease. You should consult your healthcare provider if you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.
A joint effects analysis found a link between secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer risk for both ever-smokers and never-smokers. The highest exposure group had a greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who were not exposed to secondhand smoke. Further, a significant exposure-response trend was found among the highest-exposure groups.
Although the tobacco industry recently launched a public relations and advertising campaign to discredit the EPA’s scientific report, the agency is sticking with its report and defending its findings. A panel of independent scientists unanimously endorsed its final report. However, the industry does not dispute that secondhand smoke causes respiratory problems in children.
The EPA’s report on secondhand smoke and lung cancer found a statistically significant association between the two. Furthermore, the association was more pronounced for small-cell lung cancer; therefore, an intervention against secondhand smoke is critical in lung cancer prevention.
There are several treatment options for lung cancer, which can vary for each individual. Chemotherapy, for example, can be used to shrink a tumor and prevent it from coming back. Treatment typically takes place in cycles, with medicine taken for several days, followed by a break. The length of the cycle depends on the stage of the disease.
Radiation therapy can also help control symptoms. It can be delivered externally or implanted near the tumor. This form of treatment is known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). This radiation therapy benefits patients with a localized tumor unreachable by surgery. It involves using a high-dose radiation beam to treat the tumor while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue nearby.
Depending on the cancer stage, treatment options for lung cancer can range from surgery to radiation. The best treatment option for you will depend on your condition, age, and medication tolerance. Your doctor will also consider your preferences and the treatment options you’ve already had. Sometimes, you may receive a combination of surgical procedures, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
While surgery is the primary treatment option for most lung cancer patients, immunotherapy is an alternative option for more advanced cancers. Immunotherapy, for example, uses medicines to target specific parts of cancer cells. These drugs target the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells and can sometimes increase survival rates. However, it is not suitable for all types of lung cancer.