3 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatments Explained
There are two main types of cancer non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Of the two, NSCLC is much more widespread representing 80% of cases. It begins when the cells of the lung start to expand and multiply rapidly and uncontrollably. Over time this can cause a malignant (cancerous) tumour to develop in the lungs which then kills the surrounding cells as it grows. Although this condition is potentially fatal there are a number of treatments that can be used depending on how advanced the cancer has become. In this article I will be discussing three of these NSCLC treatments.
1) SURGERY:- Surgery is normally used to treat cancers that have not spread beyond the lungs. There are two main types of surgery that are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Where possible one of the lobes of the lung is removed in a surgical process called a lobectomy. However, if the cancer has spread beyond the lobe then the entire lung may have to be removed in a process called a pneumonectomy.
2) CHEMOTHERAPY:- Chemotherapy involves using medications that kill cancer cells to treat the NSCLC. It is often used when the cancer has become more advanced and surgery is no longer a viable option. However, it may also be used before surgery (to shrink the cancer cells and make the procedure easier to perform) or after surgery (to kill off any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence). Unfortunately, chemotherapy is not a perfect treatment and has a number of unpleasant, associated side effects including feelings of sickness, a poor appetite and hair loss. However, in most cases these symptoms disappear when the course of chemotherapy ends.
3) RADIOTHERAPY:- Radiotherapy involves using high doses of radiation to destroy cancerous cells. It can be either internal (where radioactive implants are placed inside the malignant cells) or external (where radioactive rays are aimed at the cancerous tumour from outside the body). Like chemotherapy, this type of non-small cell lung cancer treatment is normally used when the cancer has spread beyond the lungs and surgery is not possible. However, it may also be used pre and post surgery to make it easier to perform and reduce the chances of the NSCLC coming back.
Cancer is a terrible disease and learning that you have developed non-small cell lung cancer can be very unpleasant. However, you need to remember that it can be treated especially when it is discovered in the early stages. I hope this article has given you an overview of the possible NSCLC treatments but to get the full picture you should go see your doctor. They will be able to provide you with professional advice and offer you the most suitable treatment.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Lung cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.