The procedure of Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs that destroy the cancer cells as well as the growth of cancer cells in the lungs. Chemotherapy is the main treatment for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) and the common treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The chemotherapy drugs are mostly given into the bloodstream and need to swallow capsules if instructed by the doctor.
Chemotherapy for the treatment of lung cancer is used in three ways:
- Primary systemic lung cancer chemotherapy – Also known as Neo-adjuvant, it is usually used before surgery to destroy the cancer cells.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy – At times, some cancer cells remain in the lungs after surgery or radiation therapy. Those remaining ones are removed with the help of adjuvant chemotherapy. It also prevents the cancer cells from spreading to the other parts of the body.
- Systemic chemotherapy – The drugs are circulated through the bloodstream and attack the cancer cells. It is highly used for locally advanced or metastatic lung cancer.
- Before surgery, chemotherapy helps in shrinking cancer as well as slows down the growth of cancer.
- After surgery, the chances of cancer coming back are almost nil.
Treatment for Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
When diagnosed, lung cancer tends to spread beyond the lungs. Chemotherapy drugs are circulated throughout the body so that the cancer cells found beyond the lungs are treated immediately. The doctor usually suggests taking the therapy before or after the surgery. Radiotherapy can also be taken side by side, before or after the surgery.
Treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
For some people, chemotherapy is suggested before the surgery in such type of lung cancer. On the other hand, if a person is diagnosed with early-stage NSCLC, chemotherapy after the surgery lowers the risk of cancer coming back. In cases where the patient is fairly fit, the doctor might carry the treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy side by side.
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