If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, your specialist will discuss with you the best treatment specifically for you and your type of tumour.
If you are someone who smokes and want help to stop smoking or reduce the amount you smoke, talk to your doctor for help in how to do this. Also communicate with your family and friends for support.
Please remember that your treatment options will depend on a number of factors such as the type (Non-small-cell lung cancer, Small-cell lung cancer), and stage (Stage I-IV) of lung cancer and how you are feeling.
Here are some of the treatments that may be available to you:
- Your tumour and possibly some lymph nodes will be removed in surgery.
- You may be able to get surgery if you have stage 1-3 cancer, depending on the location of the tumour and your health.
- You may experience side effects such as tiredness, blood clots, collapsed lung, chest or lung pain, depression, anxiety, and heart problems.1
- Your cancer may be treated using drugs that go to your whole body, through your bloodstream.
- You can expect to get chemotherapy drugs into your blood through for example a drip, port catheter or central line every 3 to 4 weeks.
- You typically get chemotherapy before radiotherapy, but it can be during radiotherapy. This is only if radiotherapy is part of the treatment plan for your tumour.
- You may experience side effects such as tiredness, sickness, a sore throat, cough, hair loss, nerve damage, loss of appetite, and breathlessness.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist to do the following tests:
- Your cancer may be treated with high energy X-rays.
- You can expect to receive a number of treatments which can vary in duration (i.e., 10 – 15 minutes) over several weeks.2
- You typically get radiotherapy after chemotherapy, because radiation may kill cancer cells that may not have been killed with chemotherapy.
- You may experience side effects such as tiredness, nausea, skin reactions, a sore throat, cough, and difficulty swallowing.
- Special types of Radiotherapy:
- Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) is a cutting-edge technique used to give focused doses of radiation to a very small area of the body. SABR is a precision technique that is used to deliver a much higher dose of radiation to the tumour than what can be achieved compared with conventional radiation therapy.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) are advanced forms of radiation therapy where high doses of radiation are delivered to small targets within the brain.
Your cancer will be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy together.
- Also see the sections:
- If your tumour contains specific mutations (changes in the cell information that cause cells to become cancer cells and grow and spread in the body).
- Your cancer may be killed using special drugs that target abnormalities in your tumour’s DNA (molecules inside cells that contains genetic information responsible for the development and functioning of calls).
- You may experience side effects such as tiredness, nausea, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, mouth sores, skin reactions, hair colour changes, and nail changes. Your side effects will vary depending on the specific targeted therapy.
- If your tumour contains specific immune markers.
- Your immune system can get help to recognise and fight cancer cells using special drugs.
- You can expect to get a drip into your chest or arm every 2 to 4 weeks for up to 2 years.
- You typically get immunotherapy after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
- You may experience side effects such as tiredness, sickness, breathlessness, diarrhoea, skin reactions, joint pain, and loss of appetite.