Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment by Stage

Conducting small cell lung cancer treatment by stage involves treating the cancer based on how far it has spread. When making decisions about small cell lung cancer treatment, it's important to know the stage of the disease. There are three stages of small cell lung cancer: limited-stage, extensive stage, and recurrent cancer. The following article breaks down small cell lung cancer treatment by stage.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment by Stage: An Overview

The process used to determine if small cell lung cancer has spread within the chest or to other parts of the body is called staging. Small cell lung cancer treatment is conducted based on the stage of cancer. There are three stages of small cell lung cancer:
 
  • Limited-stage
  • Extensive-stage
  • Recurrent.

 

Treatment options may vary based on the stage. When chemotherapy is used to treat small cell lung cancer, it may involve the use of more than one drug (a treatment known as combination chemotherapy).

 

Limited-Stage
Treatment of limited-stage small cell lung cancer may include the following:
 
  • Combination small cell lung cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the chest, with or without radiation therapy to the brain
  • Combination chemotherapy with or without small cell lung cancer radiation therapy to the brain in patients with complete response (patients with no visible signs of cancer after initial chemotherapy)
  • Combination lung cancer chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to the chest
  • Lung cancer surgery followed by chemotherapy, or chemotherapy plus radiation therapy to the chest -- with or without radiation therapy to the brain.
     
Extensive-Stage
Treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer may include the following:
 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Combination chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to the brain for patients with complete response
  • Radiation therapy to the brain, spine, bone, or other parts of the body where the cancer has spread, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
     
Recurrent
Treatment of recurrent small cell lung cancer may include the following:
 
  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms of small cell lung cancer and improve quality of life
  • Chemotherapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Laser therapy, surgical placement of devices to keep the airways open, and/or internal radiation therapy, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
     
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Lung Cancer Treatment Options

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