Stage-wise treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer, also known as NSCLC, is a type of epithelial lung cancer other than small cell lung cancer. About 80–85% of all lung cancers usually are non-small cell lung cancer. It is a group of lung cancers that behave similarly, such as squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma. Non-small cell lung cancer therapy as a class is relatively insensitive to chemotherapy when compared with small cell lung cancer therapies.

Treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer
The treatment for non-small cell lung cancer is an extensive and pain enduring procedure. The primary treatments include surgical resection with curative intent, when possible. However, chemotherapy is nowadays given to the patient before and after the surgical procedure. A brief overview of the treatment options as per the stages has been given below.

Stage 0
Stage 0 of non-small cell lung cancer is when the cancer cells have not invaded the lung tissue or other areas and are limited to the lining of the airways. Such stages of cancer can be cured through surgery if the patient is healthy enough for surgery, without the need for chemotherapy or radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.

Stage 1
In case of stage one, surgery is the only option available as a form of non-small cell lung cancer therapy. Surgery might include removing the lobe of the lung containing the tumor through sleeve resection, segmentectomy, or wedge resection. For people with stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer that has a high chance of recurrence after surgery, chemotherapy is provided to prevent its recurrence. If the patient starts suffering from severe health problems after the surgery, they are recommended a stereotactic body radiation therapy as the primary treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

Stage 2
For stage 2 non-small cell lung cancer, if the patient is healthy enough, then the tumor is removed through lobectomy or sleeve resection. In some cases, the whole lung gets removed through a pneumonectomy. After surgery, the tissue removed is checked for cancer cells. If the tissue sample tests positive for cancer cells, it means that the cancerous cells have not been removed entirely. A second surgery might be required to remove cancer cells altogether.

Stage 3 and 4
Stage 3 and 4 non-small cell lung cancer is first treated with chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the size of the cancer cells that have spread extensively. Surgery is recommended at a later stage.

The type of non-small cell lung cancer therapy or treatment options available to patients is dependent on a lot of factors. Ensure to consult your doctor and discuss the various options before deciding on a course of action.

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