Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop cancer cells' growth, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The way this cancer treatment is administered depends on the type and stage of the lung cancer.
When chemotherapy is injected into a vein or muscle or taken orally (by mouth), the drugs can enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body. This is called systemic chemotherapy.
When chemotherapy is placed directly into a body cavity such as the abdomen, an organ, or the cerebrospinal fluid, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas. This is called regional chemotherapy.
Some non-small cell lung cancer patients can be treated with a category of cancer treatments called targeted therapy. This type of treatment uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Before using targeted therapy the patient is tested for biomarkers that will tell the oncologist which targeted therapy would work best.
If you do not test positive for a biomarker with an approved targeted therapy, other methods of lung cancer treatment are recommended. Find out more about the types of gene mutations that targeted therapy is approved to treat for NSCLC patients.
Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer
Immunotherapy is a type of biologic therapy. Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that aids your immune system in fighting cancer.
There are a variety of immunotherapy types, each working in its unique way. Some immunotherapy treatments are designed to help the immune system slow or even stop cancerous cells' growth. Others support the patient's immune system in destroying cancer cells and preventing lung cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
There are currently two types of immunotherapy used to treat lung cancer - immune checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive T-cell therapy.
Laser Therapy for Lung Cancer
Laser therapy is a type of lung cancer treatment that uses laser beams to kill lung cancer cells. Because there are so many vital organs and sensitive tissue surrounding the lungs, the precision of laser therapy can be an ideal treatment for some patients.
Laser therapy can be used alone, but most often it is combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Watchful waiting closely monitors a patient's condition without giving any treatment until signs or symptoms appear or change. Your oncologist may decide on watchful waiting in certain rare cases of non-small cell lung cancer.