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What are some treatments for lung cancer?

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Quick Answer

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and targeted drug therapy are commonly used to treat lung cancer, states Mayo Clinic. Experimental clinical trials may also treat lung cancer, and palliative care can be combined with treatments to deal with the symptoms and signs of lung cancer.

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Full Answer

Surgery is used to remove the cancer from the lung, explains Mayo Clinic. A wedge resection removes the section of the lung containing the tumor along with healthy tissue. A segmental resection removes a larger section of the lung without removing the lobe. A lobectomy removes the lobe of one lung, and a pneumonectomy removes the entire lung. Lymph nodes may also be removed during surgery to check for cancer.

Chemotherapy taken orally or intravenously eliminates cancer cells, states Mayo Clinic. Chemotherapy can be used before surgery to decrease the size of cancer cells, and it is also used to remove cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Radiation uses high-energy beams to remove cancers, and it can also be used after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells. A form of radiation therapy called stereotactic body radiotherapy is sometimes used in place of surgery for small lung cancers. Drug therapies, such as erlotinib, bevacizumab and crizotinib, also treat lung cancer with various side effects, including high blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea and blood clots.

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