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Lung Cancer Treatment

After a suspicious chest X-ray or CT scan, the Kettering Cancer Care doctors work together to identify your precise lung cancer diagnosis. Our experienced team is ready to partner with you to choose the most effective treatment plan to meet your physical and emotional needs. Whether it is a consultation with a specialty physician or a quiet moment with our chaplain, we are here to support you with a treatment program that considers not just your lung cancer, but also your personal needs.

Treatment for lung cancer may include the following:

Surgery is an option for early stage lung cancer and usually only the part of the lung that contains cancer and the nearby lymph nodes are removed. Typically, the surgeon will remove one lobe of the lung (lobectomy). But in some cases, less than an entire lobe may be removed or the entire lung may be removed.

Radiation therapy may be an option for people with any stage of lung cancer. It uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used instead of surgery in early stage lung cancer, before or after surgery, to shrink a tumor that is blocking the airway, and to relieve pain when the cancer has spread.

Kettering Medical Center is the world's first Elekta Center of Excellence. We offer advanced radiation therapy options that maximize the dose of radiation targeting lung cancer tumors while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Your care team will work together to determine the best treatment for your particular situation.

Some of the advanced radiation therapy options that may be used to treat your lung cancer include:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) which allows radiation to be tightly shaped around the tumor so that there is minimal normal tissue injury.
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) which is used in combination with IMRT to verify the exact position of a tumor internally within a patient immediately before and during their daily radiation treatment. Kettering Cancer Care uses a built-in CT scanner in the treatment machine to take detailed images of a tumor during treatment so the tumor is precisely within the focus of the radiation, maximizing the treatment accuracy.
  • Respiratory Gating is the process of timing the delivery of radiotherapy to a patients breathing cycle so that treatment is delivered only at a certain level of inspiration or expiration. This is beneficial in treating some tumors that move when a patient breathes.
  • Brachytherapy is a type of radiation treatment where the radioactive source is placed at a "close" distance to the tumor. High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy allows for a very rapid treatment time (usually under 15 minutes).

Chemotherapy is a group of medicines used to treat cancer and to kill fast-growing cells. Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery to shrink the tumor, reduce the risk that the cancer will return, and to treat cancer that may have already spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be the only treatment you will need, but it may be also be used with other types of cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and biotherapy and targeted therapy.

People with non-small cell lung cancer may be given targeted therapy. Targeted therapy blocks cell signals that affect cell growth, function, and may cause cell death. They are typically given by mouth, but some are given intravenously. You may need to take targeted therapy drugs for a long time to continue to block these cell signals. Targeted therapy may be used alone or with other types of cancer treatment.

In addition to standard lung cancer treatment options, you may want to consider participating in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a carefully controlled type of research study that tests new medical approaches in people. Some of today's most effective treatments are a direct result of clinical trials.

Kettering Health Network's Innovation Center provides access to cancer studies available through our industry partners, as well as nationally sponsored clinical trials. We collaborate with the Dayton Clinical Oncology Program (DCOP) to offer National Cancer Institute and other cancer clinical trials right here in the Dayton area. Ask your physician "Is there a clinical trial that is right for me?"