The lungs are a couple of funnel-shaped breathing organs in the chest. The lungs transport oxygen into the body as you breathe inward. They expel carbon dioxide, a waste artifact of the body’s cells, as you exhale out. Non-small cell lung cancer can be found in parts of the lung or bronchi, and timely treatment is important for a successful recovery.
For most patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, present treatments will not cure the cancer. An important research and treatment tool for non-small cell lung cancer is a clinical trial. Clinical trials can be found in most parts of the country for patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. A treatment clinical trial is an investigation study meant to help expand current treatments or gain information on innovative treatments for patients with cancer. When a clinical trial indicates that a new treatment is superior to the customary treatment, the latest treatment may become the standard treatment. Certain clinical trials are accessible only to patients who have not begun treatments. Information about current clinical trials is obtainable from the NCI Web site.
There are four types of surgery that are commonly performed as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. The first surgical treatment is called “wedge resection.” A wedge resection is used to remove a tumor and normal tissue that surrounds it. When a larger section of normal tissue is taken, it is referred to as a segmental resection. The surrounding tissue is tested to verify that there are no cancer cells present – this is referred to as a “margin.” A lobectomy is a surgical procedure where a lung lobe or section is removed. A pneumonectomy is a surgical procedure to move the entire lung. A sleeve resection is the partial removal of the bronchus.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment procedure that uses high power x-rays to do away with cancer cells. The radiation is distributed directly on the tumor, which causes little damage to healthy tissue and cells. External radiation treats cancer from outside the body and internal radiation treats cancer from the inside of the body. For internal radiation treatments, a radioactive material that has been sealed in a needle, wire, seed or catheter are placed directly onto or near the cancerous tumor. This type of treatment is usually used on patients that are not candidates for surgery. In extreme cases, it may also be used in addition to surgery.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment for cancer. There are different types of chemotherapy drugs, and they are used to stop the growth and kill cancer cells. Chemo drugs can be in the form of a pill or delivered intravenously. Depending on the placement of the cancer, the chemotherapy drug can be injected directly into the cancer or cancerous area.
Targeted therapy is a form of treatment which utilizes drugs or other materials to identify and strike specific cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies, in addition to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, are two kinds of targeted therapy being applied non-small cell lung cancer treatments. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a treatment that utilizes antibodies prepared in the research laboratory from a solitary type of immune system cell. These antibodies can recognize substances on cancer cells or normal bodies that may support cancer cell growth. The antibodies bond to the substances and kill the cancer cells, halt their growth, or stop them from spreading. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are a targeted therapy drug treatment that obstructs signals that are required for tumor development. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors can be given with other adjuvant therapy drugs.
Laser therapy is a treatment that applies a laser beam light stream to kill cancer cells.
Photodynamic therapy is a double treatment that uses a laser beam of light and a medication. The drug is inactive until it is exposed to the laser light.
Cryosurgery is a cancer treatment that freezes the tumor, which will destroy abnormal tissue.
Electrocautery is a treatment procedure where a heated probe is inserted into a tumor, and an electric current is applied. The heat will kill any abnormal tissue.
In very early stages of non-small cell cancer, a watch and wait approach may be taken. This treatment can be very hard on a patient’s mental health, because no real treatment is being given. The patient is closely monitored for any symptoms to appear that would then be treated.
Tips and comments
- New treatments are always being tested in clinical trials.
- Never give up hope.
- Take charge of your disease and make sure the doctors are working for you.
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