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Chemotherapy, Radiation or Surgery -- Determining the Best Treatment for Lung Cancer

Jeffrey H. Dover
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Atlanta Auto Accident and Medical Malpractice Attorney

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2/8/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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After a lung cancer diagnosis, it's understandable to want to get treatment as soon as possible in order to try to beat the disease. Before that can happen, though, you and your doctor will need to decide which course of treatment is right for you and your case of lung cancer. Many treatments for lung cancer are most effective under specific circumstances, and there are several important factors which go into determining which treatment options will provide you with the best prognosis moving forward.

Of the many factors which dictate the selection of treatment for lung cancer, the most important are:

• The type of lung cancer that you have (small cell or non-small cell)
• The stage of your lung cancer (0 through IV)
• If your lung cancer is recurring following treatment

Whether you have small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer is pivotal in deciding upon a course of treatment. If you’ve been diagnosed with limited stage small cell lung cancer, one of the most commonly utilized courses of treatment is radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy. For those with extensive stage small cell lung cancer, it is not uncommon for chemotherapy to be used alone. For those with non-small cell lung cancer, there are many options available, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy or a combination of any of those.

The stage of non-small cell lung cancer is used to narrow down the best options. According to the National Cancer Institute, a diagnosis of stage 0 typically means that surgery can be performed as the lone form of treatment. Procedures such as wedge resections, segmental resections, sleeve resections, and lobectomies are typically performed. Other common stage 0 treatment options include photodynamic therapy and cryosurgery.

For stage I non-small cell lung cancer, there are several different treatment options. Surgery is often performed, but other options include external radiation therapy, chemotherapy and photodynamic therapy. Your doctor or specialist may suggest that any of these treatments be used in conjunction with another. For those with a diagnosis of stage II, the treatment options are very similar to that of stage I. It is more likely with this stage that the treatment will be a combination of treatments.

Stage III non-small cell lung cancer has many treatments to choose from. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and external radiation therapy as palliative treatment are all commonly selected courses of treatment for stage III. Generally, this stage requires two or more treatment options to be used in conjunction with each other, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy.

Stage IV is diagnosed when the cancer has spread from the lungs to other areas of the body. Therefore, treatment may be more difficult for this stage than any other. Any combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be recommended. Other treatments for stage IV include laser surgery and targeted therapies using monoclonal antibodies or a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.


Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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