Lung cancer currently ranks as the leading cause of cancer related death in men and women. Although continuing to decline in men, incidence rates remain stable in women, following an increase throughout the 1990’s. Trends in lung cancer related deaths, are largely attributed to trends in smoking over the past several decades. In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimates 215,020 new cases will be diagnosed and 161,870 deaths due to lung cancer will occur in the United States alone…
Traditional treatment for lung cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, ans photodtnamic therapy.
Your treatment will depend on what kind of lung cancer you have, and what stage your cancer is at (how serious it is).
In the case of surgery… there are many kinds of surgery for lung cancer, such as pneumonectomy (where one entire lung is removed), lobectomy (where a section “lobe” of the lung is removed), a segmentectomy / wedge resection (where part of a lobe is removed), laser surgery ( where a high-energy beam of light destroys the cancer cells in a tumor).
In the case of radiation therapy… this therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. The radiation can be delivered by a machine that directs the high-energy rays towards your cancer, or by a small radioactive pellet that gets implanted in or near the tumor.
In the case of chemotherapy… means taking anti-cancer drugs, either by swallowing them or by injection. One or more chemotherapy drugs may be administered through a vein in your arm (intravenously) or taken orally. A combination of drugs usually is given in a series of treatments over a period of weeks or months, with breaks in between so that your body can recover.
In the case of targeted drug therapy… these are newer cancer treatments that work by targeting specific abnormalities in cancer cells. Targeted therapy options for treating lung cancer include…
Bevacizumab (Avastin), which stops a tumor from creating a new blood supply. Blood vessels that connect to tumors can supply oxygen and nutrients to the tumor, allowing it to grow. Bevacizumab is usually used in combination with chemotherapy and is approved for advanced and recurrent non-small cell lung cancer. Bevacizumab carries a risk of severe bleeding.
Erlotinib (Tarceva), which blocks chemicals that signal the cancer cells to grow and divide. Erlotinib is approved for people with advanced and recurrent non-small cell lung cancer that haven’t been helped by chemotherapy. Erlotinib side effects include a skin rash and diarrhea.
Doctors are getting better at diagnosing and treating lung cancer, which means people with lung cancer have a better chance of recovering and living longer. Still, lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. It’s important for people with lung cancer to know what to expect and to plan for the future. It’s also important to remember that not all lung cancers are the same, and that the treatment or the prognosis for one patient with lung cancer may be very different than the next person with lung cancer.
Some people choose to use alternative therapies as lung cancer treatment instead of conventional treatments or medicine, because when one begins to understand why cells have become cancerous in the first place, it makes sense to try and reverse the process.
For instance, we all know or should know that a weakened immune system leads to cancer… while a strong immune system seeks out and destroys cancer cells. For most of your life, the immune system has successfully dealt with cancer cells, killing them off as they developed. That’s its job. For cancer to have developed in you, your immune system must have become worn out, ineffective and unable to deal with the cancer cells.
Thus it is vital in your battle against cancer to strengthen the immune system. Especially if you are getting medical treatments that wipe out the immune system, and make the body more acidic to boot. Many natural supplements and a proper diet supports the immune system. The other concern is to make sure you take enough. Lung cancer is not something to pussyfoot around with.