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Treatment for lung cancer

There are many different types of treatment for lung cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for lung cancer will depend on your type and stage of lung cancer, as well as your medical history and personal preferences for treatment.

Treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) may include: 1

  • Surgery – to remove tumours as well as affected lymph nodes
  • Radiation therapy – may be offered if surgery is not possible, it may also be offered alongside chemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy – uses specific drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be used before surgery (to shrink tumours), as well as after to help reduce the chance of the cancer returning 3
  • Palliative care treatment – may be offered to help manage symptoms in more advanced cancers. Palliative treatment can include palliative radiation therapy and chemotherapy for areas of the body where cancer has spread
  • Immunotherapy – are specific drugs that help block specific proteins produced by cancer cells that stop the body from fighting cancer cells. By blocking these proteins, the body’s immune system is better able to attack and destroy the cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy – involves specific drugs which target the mutations within the cancer cells 2

Treatment options for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) may include: 1

  • Usually radiation therapy and chemotherapy are offered as treatments for SCLC cancers at stage I – III
  • Surgery is not used for SCLC
  • Immunotherapy – used for extensive stage SCLC
  • Palliative care treatment – is offered for more advanced SCLC cancer, and its’ aim is to manage symptoms, rather than provide a cure


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Cancer Council. (2018). Lung cancer treatment. Retrieved on 27th April 2019 from
  2. Cancer Council. (2018). Targeted therapy for lung cancer. Retrieved on 27th April 2019 from
  3. Cancer Council. (2018). Immunotherapy for lung cancer. Retrieved on 27th April 2019 from

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