Treating Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths not only in America but also worldwide. The illness results from abnormal cell division and proliferation of the cells that form a tumor. It qualifies as metastatic cancer because the tumor forms in a vital body organ
Smoking is the principal risk factor for the development of this cancer. One of the common symptoms of this type of cancer is the difficulty in breathing since it limits the proper functioning of the breathing system. When making treatment plans for cancer, it is important for you to consider the different treatment options that exist. Here are the five main lung cancer treatment options.
If the cancer is in the initial stages, then this is the most suitable method of treatment. It involves the doctor removing the lobe or a section of the organ containing the tumor. After the surgery, you will require frequent exercises to ensure the organs resume operation fully.
Some of the surgical procedures include;
- Lobectomy- the surgeon removes the entire lobe of the affected area.
- Wedge Resection- removal of a section containing the tumor, alongside a margin of healthy tissue.
- Segmental Resection- the surgeon removes a larger part of the affected area but not the whole lobe.
- Pneumonectomy- this is the removal of the entire organ, in case the tumor is very close to the center of the chest.
2. Radiation Therapy
Radiotherapy is also a suitable treatment option. It involves the use of high-energy beams like X-rays and protons to kill the cancer cells. The beams are directed towards the affected area. They may also be delivered internally through needles or catheters to attack the cancer cells from within the body.
Radiotherapy cannot be used for large parts of the body because it also damages the healthy cells of the body. You may experience fatigue and loss of appetite after radiotherapy. Also, radiation inflames the organs in the breathing system and may cause shortness of breath.
Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. They limit the ability of the cancer cells to grow and divide. It can be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and after to kill any remaining cancer cells. The oncologists may also use it to relieve pain and other symptoms of advanced cancer. Chemotherapy is administered intravenously or orally. You will receive a combination of drugs severally over a given period, usually advised by the doctor.
You may experience nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and mouth ulcers among others. You may also be vulnerable to infections since this treatment method destroys white blood cells.
It is also known as biological therapy. It is a new treatment option that focusses on strengthening the activity of the immune system against tumor cells. Opdivo and Nivolumab are some of the FDA approved drugs for immunotherapy.
Some new immune-based treatments include;
- Therapeutic vaccines-it involves the use of tumor-specific antigens introduced to the body.
- Checkpoint inhibitors-these are target molecules that regulate the immune system.
- Monoclonal antibodies- these are also tumor specific antigens that are lab created.
- Adoptive T-Cell Transfer- it involves enhancing the activity of T-cells through chemicals or genetic modification.
5. Targeted Therapies
Targeted therapy works by focusing on the specific abnormalities of the cancer cells. Some drugs used for targeted therapy include Erlotinib and Gefitinib. The doctors should carefully verify the suitable drug for a patient, because some of them may cause bleeding. Targeted therapy is a suitable alternative to other forms of treatment because it only targets the cancer cells. It is vital for the medical practitioner to test the cancer cells in the laboratory, to determine whether the drugs will be beneficial to the patient or not.
In a nutshell, this kind of cancer is metastatic because it affects a vital body organ, the lungs. However, there is a broad range of existing cancer treatments. It is evident that the newer options only target the specific cancer cells. The list above should help you to understand the importance of each treatment method. However, it is important to get the doctor’s advice on the most suitable option for you.