How is small cell lung cancer treated?

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Treatment options for small cell lung cancer vary depending on your situation, including the stage of the cancer and other factors that may be present. It is ideal to talk with your healthcare team about the approach that is best for you. Overall, the options that are available include:
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Endoscopic stent placement
The most common treatment for small cell lung cancer is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy medications are taken by mouth or by injection and treat the cancer by attacking the malignant cells. Another possible treatment is radiation therapy, often conducted in conjunction with chemotherapy, in which radiation is directed at the specific areas of the body in which the cancer resides, to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. Surgery is rarely recommended for small cell lung cancer because this type of lung cancer spreads quickly, and surgery is most effective for cancers that are located in one place.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.