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|Getting the Most from Your Lung Cancer Health Care Team|
The choice of treatment depends mainly on the type of lung cancer and its stage. People with lung cancer may have surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments.
People with limited stage small cell lung cancer usually have radiation therapy and chemotherapy. For a very small lung tumor, a person may have surgery and chemotherapy. Most people with extensive stage small cell lung cancer are treated with chemotherapy only.
People with non-small cell lung cancer may have surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments. The treatment choices are different for each stage. Some people with advanced cancer receive targeted therapy.
Cancer treatment is either local therapy or systemic therapy:
Local therapy: Surgery and radiation therapy are local therapies. They remove or destroy cancer in the chest. When lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body, local therapy may be used to control the disease in those specific areas. For example, lung cancer that spreads to the brain may be controlled with radiation therapy to the head.
Systemic therapy: Chemotherapy and targeted therapy are systemic therapies. The drugs enter the bloodstream and destroy or control cancer throughout the body.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You may want to know about side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, your healthcare team will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to help you manage them.
You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before your treatment begins:
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before having surgery:
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before having radiation therapy:
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before having chemotherapy or targeted therapy:
Considering a Second Opinion
Before starting treatment, you might want a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Many insurance companies cover a second opinion if you or your doctor requests it.
It may take some time and effort to gather your medical records and see another doctor. In most cases, a brief delay in starting treatment will not make treatment less effective. To make sure, you should discuss this delay with your doctor. Sometimes people with lung cancer need treatment right away.
There are many ways to find a doctor for a second opinion. You can ask your doctor, a local or state medical society, a nearby hospital, or a medical school for names of specialists. Also, your nearest cancer center can tell you about doctors who work there.
Educational information provided by The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Internet site.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 04:15|