CLEAR Clinic Treatment Options

Surgery

Surgery involves removing the tumor and nearby tissue. Lymph nodes may also need to be removed. The type of surgery depends on the location of the tumor, such as:

  • Segmental or wedge resection—removal of only a small part of the lung
  • Lobectomy —removal of an entire lobe of the lung
  • Pneumonectomy—removal of an entire lung

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This may also be used to relieve symptoms, such as shortness of breath. External radiation is usually used to treat lung cancer. With this treatment, radiation is directed at the tumor from a source outside of the body.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. This may be given in many forms, including pill, injection, and via a catheter. Chemotherapy is often used to kill lung cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.

Newer Treatments

Researchers continue to study ways to treat lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute considers these potential therapies:

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)—a type of laser therapy. A chemical is injected into the bloodstream. It is then absorbed by the cells of the body. The chemical rapidly leaves normal cells. It will remain in cancer cells for a longer time. A laser aimed at the cancer activates the chemical. This chemical then kills the cancer cells that have absorbed it. This treatment may also be used to reduce symptoms.
  • Cryosurgery—a treatment that freezes and destroys cancer tissue

Other treatments that are being researched include:

  • Targeted therapy—involves using medicines or substances to target certain molecules in the cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy—involves using medicines or substances made by the body to increase or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, follow your doctor's instructions.