Treatments

Before you begin your individual treatment, your doctor and treating team will discuss the right treatment options for you.

There is now a wide range of treatment options for lung cancer and you may be offered one or a combination of these:

 

Nurse with intravenous drip
  • Surgery – this involves surgically removing or “resecting” part of the lung. Some cancers are not suitable for surgery.
    (known as ‘unresectable’)
  • Radiotherapy – external beam radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be used to stop cancer spreading further or to improve symptoms and limit pain.
  • Chemotherapy – this is the use of certain drugs to kill cancer cells and limit their spread. Drugs can be given on their own or in combination. It may also be given in combination with radiotherapy, which is known as “chemoradiation”. In recent years it has become more sophisticated and different chemotherapy regimens can be used based on an individual’s disease.
  • Targeted treatments – these treatments are aimed at specific mutations. The most common “targets” in NSCLC are changes in genes called EGFR, ALK or ROS1. If your cancer does not express these mutations, then you will not be offered these treatments as they will not be effective. They are more commonly used in advanced cancer.
  • Immunotherapy – these therapies work by “tricking” the immune system into recognising and attacking the cancer cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors that target proteins called PD-1 or PDL-1 are being used in lung cancer. You may be tested to see if your cancer expresses these proteins.

The exact treatment pathway will depend on the extent and type of the cancer and your own overall health.