Q:

How do you treat lung cancer?

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Quick Answer

Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, innovative treatments and clinical trials are all treatment options for lung cancer. Each person receives an individualized course of treatment from an oncologist, and understanding the options, potential side effects and methods to deal with discomfort is significant, according to the American Lung Association.

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Full Answer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to stop cancer cells from growing or to kill them outright. When radiation is used in combination with surgery, it can shrink the tumor before the operation. The process then destroys any cancerous cells that remain after the procedure and improves symptoms the cancer has caused. Surgery can take the tumor out, along with any other affected part of the lung. In some individuals, surgery is the first step of treatment, and in others, it comes later in the process, notes the American Lung Association.

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the entire body. Doctors use it at different points in the treatment to shrink tumors, kill cancerous cells or alleviate symptoms from side effects. Targeted innovative therapies are new drugs that take on the mutations that cause cancer cells to grow out of control. These therapies specifically target mutations, which helps lower the amount of damage inflicted on normal cells, states the American Lung Association.

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