Lung Cancer Treatment – Your Ways To Survive
Lung cancer treatment depends on the kind of cancer. To determine the kind of lung cancer the cell type needs to be identified. The two types of cancer in lungs are small cell and non-small cell and treatment protocol for these types of cell cancers differs entirely. About 90% sufferers are identified with epidermoid carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and oat cell carcinoma, which are the common types of lung cancers.
Only after diagnosing the type of cancer in the patient can treatment options be obtained. Once you have been detected or suspected for cancer in lungs, you will be subjected to different kind of tests to confirm the presence of lung cancer and also selected treatment protocols. X-ray, CT scans (computer assisted tomography), and MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are the means for diagnosing this cancer.
Your doctor will provide you all the details of cancer treatment including the stage, extent and location of the lung cancer once you have been confirmed with lung cancer. In the early stages, the cancerous mass would be only confined to one area of the lung. In the advanced stages, the cancer may spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream or lymph nodes. You may discuss with your doctor your treatment plan, which can be performed by any one of the following methods:
Chemotherapy. Treatment with drug combinations to annihilate cancer cells.
Radiation therapy. Treatment by passing high-energy rays on the cancerous cells to kill cancer cells.
Surgery. Treatment by removing the part of the affected lung to eradicate the cancer.
This treatment uses different drug combinations given intravenously or orally. These medicines enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body destroying the cancerous cells metastasized to other parts of the body. Lung cancer treatment requires anticancer drugs for the elimination of cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be performed alone as a primary treatment or as combination with surgery. Although chemotherapy kills the cancerous cells, it kills normal cells also, therefore minimizing the possible side effects needs to be taken by the physician. The occurrence of side effects depends upon the length of treatment and the amount of drugs you have taken. The common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, hair loss, or loss of appetite.
The two major radiation therapies used as treatment to destroy cancer cells are external beam radiation and brachytherapy. When the health of the patient is too poor to withstand surgery then external beam radiation therapy is used. Brachytherapy is the radiation therapy used for treatment by relieving the blockage of large airways due to cancer.
Surgery may be preferred as a last resort for treatment. It might be required of you to spend two to three weeks in the hospital for surgical therapy of lung cancer. Under general anesthesia, a surgical incision is performed to the chest and the affected tissue is removed to destroy the cancer in lungs. The probable complications include wound infections, pneumonia, and excessive bleeding with surgical treatment for this cancer. For at least two to three months your activity should be limited due to the surgical incision in the ribs.
Of late, an invasive procedure called video-assisted thoracic surgery has been developed for a tumor smaller than 4 to 5 cm for lung cancer treatment.
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