Lung cancer is a serious illness that is often linked with smoking. However, even non-smokers can be diagnosed with lung cancer, and it’s often the case that no specific underlying cause for this form of cancer is found. Various lung cancer treatments can be successful at treating this difficult disease.
Below, we will outline a general guide on what a lung cancer diagnosis might mean and what treatment options for lung cancer treatments are available.
Types of Lung Cancer and Staging
The two types of lung cancer are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Under a microscope, professionals can see the cancer, and they can see how large the cells are. It is much more common to be diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer than it is with small cell lung cancer.
Once lung cancer has been diagnosed, a process called staging takes place. This sets lung cancer at one of a spectrum of stages. There are various stages of both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Staging tests how far the cancer has spread throughout the rest of the body, including the lymph nodes and lungs.
Treatment Options for Lung Cancer Patients
There are basically four types of treatment options for both small cell and non-small cell lung cancers:
- Surgery to cut out cancerous tissue
- Chemotherapy, which uses special medicines to kill or shrink the number of cancer cells
- Radiation, which uses high energy rays to eliminate the cancer cells
- Targeted therapy, which uses drugs to stop the spread and growth of the cancer itself
Of course, some alternative methods of treatment are available as well, and in some cases, you may be able to participate in clinical trials for new treatments if you’re interested.
Choosing the Right Lung Cancer Treatments for You
It can certainly be a challenge to determine which cancer treatments will be right for you in the long run. After all, there are both traditional methods of treatment and new, alternative methods that are always being tested. Generally speaking, the treatment you choose will depend on the type of treatment center you go to and what your doctor recommends.
Factors to consider include the risks and benefits of each treatment, side effects that may be caused by various types of treatment, length of treatment, and more. These are all things that you should consult with your doctor and cancer treatment team. In some cases, you may even decide to get a second opinion or try clinical trials. In the end, weigh all of your options and the accompanying factors, and make the decision that you feel more comfortable with and ready to try in your own life.