It is important knowing the types of lung cancers for treating them. The two major types of lung cancers are small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The SCLC type spreads to other parts of the body very fast and is mainly treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is also combined with surgery or radiation therapy for treatment of SCLC. To determine the type of cancer a person has samples are taken out of the tumor, surgically. Sometimes lymph nodes are also removed to ascertain the presence of cancer in them. Treatment is started once the type of cancer is determined.
Chemotherapy is used to stop the growth and the spread of lung cancer beyond the lungs and the existing tumors in other parts of the body are treated with radiation therapy.
A radiation oncologist may suggest you to have radiation therapy to the brain to prevent the cancer from being spread to this part of the body even if cancer is not present in the brain. This type of radiation treatment of the brain is called prophylactic cranial irradiation. Since radiation may affect the function of the brain if it is exposed to radiation, proper consultation is essential with the doctor and the patient. In an attempt to remove a cancerous growth in the spine and bones may not succeed, it may bring comfort to the patient by relieving some of the symptoms of cancer.
The slow growing non-small cell lung cancer spreads very slowly to the other parts of the body. Early stages of diagnosis of NSCLC cancer can be treated with surgery. Radiation or chemotherapy can be used to slow down the growth of the cancerous cells and also to relieve the symptoms of cancer apart from surgery. Radiation therapy of treating NSCLC can be performed in a patient that cannot undergo surgery due to a medical condition. If the lung cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby tissues of the lymph nodes then radiation therapy is the best way to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Pain due to tumors can be reduced if radiation therapy is given to the patient. Radiotherapy helps the patient breathe easily by opening the airways. It is important to diagnose the type of cancer present and the areas that are affected by the cancer. The first step will be to stop the growth of cancer cells and then to treat them with an appropriate therapy.
Statistics reveal that about 20% of lung cancers are SCLC and 80% are NSCLC. Oat cell carcinoma is another name for SCLC. Based on the kind of cells making the NSCLC type, the categories are adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and large cell carcinomas. Adenocarcinomas are found in smokers as well as non-smokers. The squamous carcinomas are found in the central chest area. And the least common type is the large cell carcinomas which are undifferentiated carcinomas.
Cancers of the lung can also occur as a result of spreading of the cancer from other parts to the lungs, where the cancerous growths are found scattered in the lungs and most often on the peripheral lungs. Bronchial carcinoids and cancers that affect the supporting tissues of the lungs and blood vessels are other types of lung cancer.