Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment
Some types of treatment for small cell lung cancer are standard, meaning they are currently being used, while others are still being tested in clinical trials. Standard treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Because this type of cancer is usually found in both lungs, surgery is rarely used on its own to treat the disease. People with small cell lung cancer may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.
Different small cell lung cancer treatment options are available for patients. Some small cell lung cancer treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are still being tested in clinical trials.
Choosing the most appropriate treatment is a decision that ideally involves the patient, family, and healthcare team.
There are three types of standard treatment for small cell lung cancer:
- Surgery (see Lung Cancer Surgery)
- Chemotherapy (see Lung Cancer Chemotherapy)
- Radiation therapy (see Lung Cancer Radiation).
Surgery for Small Cell Lung Cancer TreatmentSurgery for small cell lung cancer treatment may be used if the cancer is found in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes only. Because small cell lung cancer is usually found in both lungs, surgery is rarely used on its own. Occasionally, surgery may be used to help determine the patient's exact type of lung cancer. During surgery, the doctor will also remove lymph nodes to see if they contain cancer. Laser therapy (the use of an intensely powerful beam of light to kill cancer cells) may be used.
Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment that is given after the surgery, to increase the chances of a cure, is called adjuvant therapy.