Leading the Way in Lung Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy for lung cancer uses medication to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing. Sometimes chemotherapy is used by itself, but it is often paired with other treatments like radiation and surgery. Doctors who specialize in treating cancer with medication are called medical oncologists.
Immunotherapy for lung cancer stimulates your immune system to help your body fight cancer. Some types of immunotherapy stimulate the overall immune system, and other types help the immune system recognize and target cancer specifically.
While there are non-specific immunotherapies that can boost your immune system in general ways, the most common types of immunotherapy are:
- Monoclonal antibodies: artificial versions of immune system proteins that target a specific part of a cancer cell
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors: a combination of medications that help your immune system recognize and target cancer cells
- Cancer vaccines: help jump-start an immune response against certain diseases
Radiation therapy for lung cancer uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells. It does this by damaging the cells’ DNA so that the cells die or stop dividing. Radiation therapy can cause tumors to shrink and disappear, but it can also cause damage to healthy surrounding cells. For this reason, radiation oncologists use detailed imaging to ensure that the radiation is precisely targeted on the cancer cells.
Sometimes, surgery may be the only treatment you need for lung cancer. But usually, it is part of a treatment plan that includes chemotherapy and radiation.
The most common types of lung cancer surgery are:
- Wedge resection to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue
- Lobectomy to take out a whole section, or lobe, of the lung
- Pneumonectomy to remove the lung with cancer
- Sleeve resection to target the tubes that connect the lungs to the trachea, called the bronchus
Targeted lung cancer therapy targets the specific genes, proteins or tissue that is causing cancer cells to grow, divide and spread. Targeted therapy helps block the spread of cancer cells while simultaneously limiting damage to healthy cells.