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CDC - How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?

How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?

Types of Lung Cancer
There two main types of lung cancer are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
These categories refer to what the cancer cells look like under a microscope. Non-small cell lung
cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.

If lung cancer is diagnosed, other tests are done to find out how far it has spread through the
lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This process is called staging. The type and stage
of lung cancer tells doctors what kind of treatment you need. For more information, visit Stages
of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (
( and Stages of Small Cell Lung
Cancer. (

Types of Treatment
Lung cancer is treated in several ways, depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has
spread. People with non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy,
radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments. People with small
cell lung cancer are usually treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Surgery. An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.
Chemotherapy. Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be
pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer.
Targeted therapy. Using drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. The drugs
can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins.
Doctors from different specialties often work together to treat lung cancer. Pulmonologists are
doctors who are experts in diseases of the lungs. Surgeons are doctors who perform operations.
Thoracic surgeons specialize in chest, heart, and lung surgery. Medical oncologists are doctors
who treat cancer with medicines. Radiation oncologists are doctors who treat cancers with
For more information, visit the National Cancer Institutes Lung Cancer Treatment


page. This site can also help you find a doctor or treatment facility
( that works in cancer care. Visit Facing Forward: Life
After Cancer Treatment (
( for more information about treatment and links that

can help with treatment choices.

Clinical Trials
Clinical trials use new treatment options to see if they are safe and effective. If you have
cancer, you may want to take part. Visit the sites listed below for more information.



CDC - How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?

NIH Clinical Research Trials and You (

( (National Institutes of Health)
Learn About Clinical Trials (
( (National Cancer Institute)
Search for Clinical Trials (
( (National Cancer Institute) ( (
(National Institutes of Health)

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine (
( are medicines and health practices that are not
standard cancer treatments. Complementary medicine is used in addition to standard
treatments, and alternative medicine is used instead of standard treatments. Meditation, yoga,
and supplements like vitamins and herbs are some examples.
Many kinds of complementary and alternative medicine have not been tested scientifically and
may not be safe. Talk to your doctor (
( before you start any kind of complementary or
alternative medicine.

Which Treatment Is Right for Me?

Choosing the treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your cancer doctor about the
treatment options available for your type and stage of cancer. Your doctor can explain the risks
and benefits of each treatment and their side effects.
Sometimes people get an opinion from more than one cancer doctor. This is called a "second
opinion." Getting a second opinion (
( may help you choose the treatment that is
right for you.

Related Links
Cancer Treatment Scams (

Beware of Online Cancer Fraud


Questions Are the Answer: Your Health Depends on Good Communication with Your
Health Care Providers (


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Con t en t sou r ce: Div ision of Ca n cer Pr ev en t ion a n d Con t r ol, Na t ion a l Cen t er for Ch r on ic Disea se Pr ev en t ion a n d
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CDC - How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?

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