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Treatment Options for Stage 3B Lung Cancer

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: lrohner • updated: 2/28/2011

Are you looking for information about the treatment for stage 3B lung cancer? Here we will list and discuss the different treatments that may be used.

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    Patients with stage 3B lung cancer are surely most concerned with the treatment for stage 3B lung cancer. Once lung cancer is in stage 3B, it has already made its way to the patient's lymph nodes. This is an advanced stage and about 20 percent of those diagnosed with this type of cancer are in stage 3B. In most cases, this stage is inoperable, but it is treatable. Because of this surgery is rarely an option.

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    Photodynamic Therapy

    Also referred to as PDT, this therapy is commonly used to treat lung cancer when it is inoperable. This therapy consists of a health care professional injecting a light-activated drug. Then, he or she will perform a bronchoscopy and a laser fiber illuminates the lung tumor. The laser light is then going to destroy the tumor tissue that is sensitized. Patients may experience light sensitivity with this therapy.

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    Electrosurgery

    This is a type of surgery that involves the use of a bulb, needle, or disk electrode. During a bronchoscopy, Nd-YAG laser therapy, brachytherapy, and cryotherapy are other types of size-reducing techniques that may be used. If the patient has an inner cavity, obstructive lung tumor, this treatment may be particularly useful.

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    Radiotherapy

    More commonly referred to as radiation, this treatment for stage 3B lung cancer is rather common. Cancer cells are killed with a high-energy ionizing radiation with this therapy. A number of radioactive substances are used to produce ionizing radiation, such as cobalt, iodine, cesium, gold, yttrium, radium, radon, phosphorus, and iridium. This therapy may be used to alleviate symptoms, shrink a tumor that will eventually be surgically removed, or to kill cancer cells in a tumor that cannot be surgically removed.

    Side effects are possible. Patients may experience skin disorders, such as itching, pain, increased pigmentation, erythema, desquamation, shrinking, and swelling. Other possible side effects may include hair loss, taste perception changes, increased heart rate, malaise, vomiting, anorexia, damage to fetus if the female patient is pregnant, increased risk for infection, and nausea.

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    Radiosurgery

    Also referred to as radiation surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery, this treatment may be used in cases of inoperable lung cancer. This is a form of external radiation therapy. Patients will be administered one large dose of radiation directly to their tumor. This helps in preserving other non-affected tissues. This is not a surgical procedure in the traditional sense.

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    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy are drugs used to treat cancer that can be administered intravenously or orally. These drugs are used to kill cancer cells that are growing out of control. Side effects may result from chemotherapies destroying non-cancerous cells that are rapidly dividing. Common side effects may include nausea and vomiting due to the stomach lining cells being affected and hair loss due to the hair follicles being affected. In some cases, this treatment is administered as an adjuvant therapy. However, for most patients, this treatment is administered as a palliative therapy to reduce the patient's symptoms and increase survival time.

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    Resources

    Mayo Clinic. (2009). Lung Cancer. Retrieved on February 27, 2011 from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038

    Pulmonology Channel. (2010). Lung Cancer Treatment According to Stages. Retrieved on February 27, 2011 from Pulmonology Channel: http://www.pulmonologychannel.com/lungcancer/treatmentstages.shtml