Can small cell lung cancer be cured without surgery?

How does the doctor determine the stage of lung cancer when it is found? 

The staging will include three sets of letters and numbers. The first two grade the tumor size, the second two indicate the nodal involvement, and the third pair relate to whether or not the tumor has metastasized.

Is surgery usually used for lung cancer? 

Yes, in most cases. The doctor will usually operate if he feels that the entire tumor can be removed or if the operation will remove a portion of the tumor and will help the patient live with the disease better. If the cancer affects only one lobe, it will be removed. If it affects both lobes on the left side or all three lobes on the right side, the whole lung on the involved side may be taken out. If the lymph nodes involved are around the main bronchus and the large blood vessels of the lungs or in the center of the chest, it might be possible to remove all of the malignancy as long as only one lung contains the cancer. The use of surgery and the operation which will be performed depend upon many factors. Surgery may or may not be used for small cell lung cancer, depending on many factors.

What happens if the cancer has spread to the chest wall? 

Again it depends upon the amount and location of the spread. It is possible to treat with surgery if the cancer has grown directly from the lung into a small area of the chest wall. Then the involved part of the chest wall is taken out along with the lung, and skin and muscle are used to cover the part of the wall which has been removed.

When is surgery not used? 

Surgery usually is not the treatment or not the only treatment for lung cancer in which the tumor has grown directly into one or more of the important structures in the chest, such as the heart, the esophagus, large blood vessels, or windpipe, or if it has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, to the opposite lung, or to other organs far from the lung, such as the liver, kidneys, or brain. When this happens, radiation and chemotherapy alone, in combination, or with surgery are used, depending upon the location and the extent of the disease.

Is the laser ever used for lung cancer? 

Some investigational work is being done in this area, with mixed results. Laser surgery to enlarge the size of the tracheal opening has been helpful to some patients with shortness of breath.

LASER TREATMENT FOR LUNG CANCER

What if I decide I don't want my lung removed? 

If your general health is good and it seems that the cancer is confined to one lobe or one lung, the doctor will probably recommend removal of the entire tumor. If all the cancer is removed, statistics show there is an excellent chance for recovery. Radiation following surgery is not usually necessary in cases where the entire cancer is removed. If surgery is not recommended, radiation therapy can be used. However, radiation therapy may not be as successful a treatment as surgery. New combination programs employing chemotherapy, as well as radiation and/or immunotherapy, are being tested. Chemotherapy has been found to be successful in treatment of lung cancer of the small cell (oatcell) variety.

Treatment and Management of Small Cell Lung Cancer


What is a coin lesion? 

This is a term sometimes used to refer to a small tumor of the lung which is confined to the lung without extension to adjacent structures. It is often found as the result of a routine chest x-ray. A coin lesion is considered to be potentially curable.

Where does lung cancer spread to most often? 

Unfortunately, distant metastases can spread to virtually any organ of the body liver, skeleton, and other lung, for instance. One of the most common sites for metastases is the brain. Radiation of the sites is usually used for treatment in these cases.


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