Since lung cancer tends to spread or metastasize very early in its course, it is a very life-threatening cancer and one of the most difficult cancers to treat. While lung cancer can spread to any organ in the body, certain organs - particularly the adrenal glands, liver, brain, and bone - are the most common sites for lung-cancer metastasis.
The lung is also a very common site for metastasis from tumors in other parts of the body. Tumor metastases are made up of the same type of cells as the original, or primary, tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads via the bloodstream to the lungs, it is metastatic prostate cancer in the lung and is not lung cancer. Post a Query
Lung cancers, also known as bronchogenic carcinomas (carcinoma is another term for cancer), are broadly classified into two types: small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).
NSCLC are the most common lung cancers, accounting for about 80% of all lung cancers. NSCLC can be divided into three main types that are named based upon the type of cells found in the tumor:
The most common methods are surgical removal of the cancer, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, as well as combinations of these treatments depending on the localization and extent of the tumor as well as the overall health status of the patient.
Surgery : Surgical removal of the tumor is generally performed for limited-stage (stage I or sometimes stage II) NSCLC and is the treatment of choice for cancer that has not spread beyond the lung. About 10%-35% of lung cancers can be removed surgically, but removal does not always result in a cure, since the tumors may already have spread and can recur at a later time.
The surgical procedure chosen depends upon the size and location of the tumor. Surgeons must open the chest wall and may perform a wedge resection of the lung (removal of a portion of one lobe), a lobectomy (removal of one lobe), or a pneumonectomy (removal of an entire lung). Sometimes lymph nodes in the region of the lungs are also removed (lymphadenectomy).
Surgery for lung cancer is a major surgical procedure that requires general anesthesia, hospitalization, and follow-up care for weeks to months.Request a Call Back
Radiation : Radiation therapy may be employed as a treatment for both NSCLC and SCLC. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill dividing cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be given as curative therapy, palliative therapy (using lower doses of radiation than with curative regimens), or as adjuvant therapy in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
The radiation is either delivered externally, by using a machine that directs radiation toward the cancer, or internally through placement of radioactive substances in sealed containers within the area of the body where the tumor is localized. Brachytherapy is a term used to describe the use of a small pellet of radioactive material placed directly into the cancer or into the airway next to the cancer.
Combining radiation therapy with chemotherapy can further increase the chances of survival when chemotherapy is administered. External radiation therapy can generally be carried out on an outpatient basis, while internal radiation therapy requires a brief hospitalization.
Chemotherapy : Both NSCLC and SCLC may be treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy refers to the administration of drugs that stop the growth of cancer cells by killing them or preventing them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given alone, as an adjuvant to surgical therapy, or in combination with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for most SCLC, since these tumors are generally widespread in the body when they are diagnosed. Only half of people who have SCLC survive for four months without chemotherapy. With chemotherapy, their survival time is increased up to four- to fivefold. Chemotherapy alone is not particularly effective in treating NSCLC, but when NSCLC have metastasized, it can prolong survival in many cases.
Chemotherapy may be given as pills, as an intravenous infusion, or as a combination of the two. Chemotherapy treatments are usually given in an outpatient setting. A combination of drugs is given in a series of treatments, called cycles, over a period of weeks to months, with breaks in between cycles. Unfortunately, the drugs used in can lead to side effects that include fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and mouth sores.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) : One newer therapy used for different types and stages of lung cancer (as well as some other cancers) is photodynamic therapy. In photodynamic treatment, a photosynthesizing agent (such as a porphyrin, a naturally occurring substance in the body) is injected into the bloodstream a few hours prior to surgery. During this time, the agent deposits itself selectively in rapidly growing cells such as cancer cells. A procedure then follows in which the physician applies a certain wavelength of light through a handheld wand directly to the site of the cancer and surrounding tissues.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Radiofrequency ablation is being studied as an alternative to surgery, particularly in cases of early stage lung cancer. In this newer type of treatment, a needle is inserted through the skin into the cancer, usually under guidance by CT scanning. Radiofrequency (electrical) energy is then transmitted to the tip of the needle where it produces heat in the tissues, killing the cancerous tissue and closing small blood vessels that supply the cancer. RFA usually is not painful and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of certain cancers including lung cancers. Studies have shown that this treatment can prolong survival similarly to surgery, when used to treat early stages of lung cancer, but without the risks of major surgery and the prolonged recovery time associated with major surgical procedures.Refer a Patient
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