Saturday, October 24, 2020

TREATMENT OF LUNG CANCER…

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There are two types of lung cancer.

1:small cell lung cancer.

2:non small cell lung cancer.

Treatment by stage for small cell lung cancer

If you have early stage small cell lung cancer you are most likely to have chemotherapy and thenradiotherapy to the lung. People who are fairly fit may have chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time (chemoradiation). It is quite common for this type of cancer to spread to the brain. So doctors often recommend radiotherapy to the brain for people whose lung cancer shrinks with chemotherapy treatment. You usually have radiotherapy to the brain at the end of the chemotherapy treatment. It aims to try to kill any cancer cells that may have already spread to the brain but are too small to show up on scans. Doctors call this prophylactic cranial irradiation or PCI.

For very early stage small cell lung cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes in the centre of the chest (the mediastinal lymph nodes), you may have surgery to remove the part of the lung containing the tumour (a lobectomy). The surgery is followed by chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy. But usually the cancer has already spread at the time of diagnosis and surgery is not then possible.

If you have small cell cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or other areas of the body you may have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or treatment to relieve symptoms. If chemotherapy works well to shrink the lung tumour down and you are fairly fit you may also have radiotherapy to the brain to kill any cancer cells that may have already spread there.

Treatment by stage for non small cell lung cancer

Stage 1

Stage 1 non small cell lung cancer is uncommon. You normally have surgery to remove part of the lung (a lobectomy) or all of the lung (a pneumonectomy). If you can’t have an operation for other health reasons, your doctor may suggest targeted radiotherapy instead to try to cure the cancer. Another option for small tumours if you cannot have surgery is radio frequency ablation (RFA).

Stage 2

For stage 2 non small cell lung cancer, you may be offered surgery. Depending on the position of the tumour, your surgeon may remove part of the lung (a lobectomy) or all of the lung (apneumonectomy). If the cancer is completely removed, your specialist may suggest chemotherapy. The chemotherapy aims to lower the risk of the cancer coming back. Doctors call this adjuvant chemotherapy. It is important that your doctor talks to you beforehand about the benefits and side effects of chemotherapy. If the surgeon could not remove all of the tumour you may haveradiotherapy afterwards.

If you can’t have surgery due to other health concerns, your doctor may offer radiotherapy or combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiation). This treatment aims to try to get rid of the cancer completely.

Stage 3

For stage 3 non small cell lung cancer you may be able to have surgery, depending on where the cancer is in the lung. You may need to have the whole lung removed (a pneumonectomy). If the surgeon completely removes the cancer, you may then have chemotherapy to try to lower the risk of the cancer coming back. If the surgeon finds cancer cells in the lymph nodes during the surgery they are likely to advise you to have chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy after the operation.

If you can’t have surgery due to other health concerns, your doctor may offer radiotherapy or combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiation). This treatment aims to try to get rid of the cancer completely.

If your scans showed that there are cancer cells in the middle area of the chest (the mediastinum), your doctor may suggest radiotherapy instead of surgery. The cancer may be too close to your heart to operate safely. Or your doctor may advise that you have a course of chemotherapy followed byradiotherapy. Some people who are fairly fit and have small tumours have radiotherapy at the same time as chemotherapy (concomitant chemoradiotherapy). Concomitant chemoradiotherapy causes more side effects than the treatments given alone. So you need to be well enough to cope with the increased side effects.

Stage 4

Treatment for stage 4 non small cell lung cancer aims to control the cancer for as long as possible and to shrink the tumour down to reduce symptoms. Many trials have used chemotherapy in this situation and we know that it can help people to live longer as well as relieving symptoms.

People whose cancer cells have particular proteins (receptors) may have treatment with biological therapy drugs called erlotinib (Tarceva), gefitinib (Iressa) or crizotinib (Xalkori).

If you have had chemotherapy and it is no longer controlling the cancer, you may have further chemotherapy if you are well enough. If your cancer has EGFR receptors your doctor may offer erlotinib treatment. Or you may choose to have no further active treatment but to control your symptoms with medicines.

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