Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis, only about one-third of patients are candidates for surgical removal.
Your physician may refer you to a specialist who has experience treating lung cancer. These specialists may include a:
- Thoracic (chest) surgeon
- Thoracic surgical oncologist
- Medical oncologist
- Radiation oncologist
Your choice of treatment depends on the type of lung cancer and its stage. You may have:
For limited stage small cell lung cancer, treatment usually includes radiation and chemotherapy. For a very small lung tumor, you may have surgery and chemotherapy. Extensive stage small cell lung cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy only.
People with non-small cell lung cancer may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments. Treatment choices differ for each stage.
Cancer treatment is either local therapy or systemic therapy. Local therapy, such as surgery, removes or destroys cancer in the chest. Systemic therapy, such as chemotherapy, enters the bloodstream and destroys or controls cancer throughout the body.