The main treatments
Treatment depends on the type of lung cancer you have. The treatment for non small cell lung cancer is different from the treatment for small cell lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer is mostly treated with chemotherapy. Surgery is only suitable if there is no sign that the cancer has spread to the lymph glands in the centre of the chest (the mediastinal lymph glands). This is rare with small cell lung cancer. It has usually spread at the time of diagnosis. So chemotherapy is usually the main treatment. You may also have radiotherapy to treat this type of lung cancer. There is information below about the treatment of small cell lung cancer by stage.
Non small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these, depending on the stage when the cancer is diagnosed. Some people with advanced lung cancer may have biological therapy. There is information below about the treatment of non small cell cancer by stage.
How treatment is planned
Your cancer specialist looks at a number of factors that help them to plan your treatment. These include
- The type of lung cancer you have
- Where the cancer is within the lung
- Your general health
- Whether the cancer has spread (the stage)
- Results of blood tests and scans
- Your own wishes
You may find that other people you meet are having different treatment from you. This may be because they have a different type of lung cancer. Or it may be that some of the other factors listed above are different. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or specialist nurse any questions you have about your treatment.