The nine types of medicinal treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, cryosurgery, electrocautery and watchful waiting.
There are four different types of surgery used, ranging from a wedge resection to a lobectomy, a pneumonectomy to a sleeve resection. The type of surgery used depends on the size and location of the tumor.
Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other radiation to keep cancer cells from growing or annihilate them completely. External radiation is conducted by a machine outside the body, while internal radiation therapy uses radioactive material housed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters near or directly into the cancer. Radiosurgery delivers radiation to the tumor with little damage to surrounding healthy tissue. It is sometimes used to treat patients who cannot have surgery.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or keep them from dividing. It can be taken orally, intravenously or regionally.
Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to locate and attack specific cancer cells while not harming normal cells. Both monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used in non-small cell lung cancer treatment.
Laser therapy kills cancer cells through the use of a laser beam, a narrow beam of intense light.
Photodynamic therapy uses a drug and special kind of laser light to kill cancer cells.
Cryosurgery is the use of an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue.
In electrocautery a probe or needle that is heated by an electric current destroys abnormal tissue.
In certain rare cases of non-small cell lung cancer, watchful waiting can be used to closely monitor a patient's condition until symptoms appear or change.