Lung Cancer Treatments
We can shorten the time between your lung cancer diagnosis and treatment as specialists from medical and radiation oncology, pathology, pulmonary medicine and thoracic surgery collaborate to:
- Establish a diagnosis and tumor stage. Your team reviews data and orders necessary tests before your first visit.
- Evaluate all current medical, surgical and radiation treatment options, including clinical trials.
- Develop an individual treatment plan.
- Discuss the plan with you, the patient.
- Implement the treatment plan.
Most lung cancers require a combination of treatment approaches.
Treatments for lung cancer
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. You may receive it in pill form or by infusion through an IV. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe chemotherapy before or after surgery to shrink a tumor rather than as a standalone treatment.
Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that harnesses an individual’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy is highly targeted and precisely destroys cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It offers the potential to deliver more targeted treatment with fewer harsh side effects.
Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink swollen lymph nodes. Radiation can be internal or external. Treatment can be used before lung cancer surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any cancer cells left in the lungs. In addition, our doctors offer high-dose-rate brachytherapy for lung cancer. Brachytherapy delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor, while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.
The interventional radiology team at The University of Kansas Health System provides therapeutic and diagnostic procedures for cancerous and noncancerous conditions affecting every area of the body. To treat lung cancer, we use several advanced techniques, such as:
- Embolization: Cuts off the blood supply to a tumor, causing the cells to eventually die.
- Radiofrequency ablation: Uses a high-frequency current that heats the tumor and destroys the cancer cells.
- Chemoembolization: Sends biodegradable beads filled with concentrated chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor. Because the beads stop blood flow to the tumor and keep chemo drugs out of the bloodstream, you can experience better results with greatly reduced side effects.
- Microwave ablation: Uses microwaves to heat and kill tumor cells. CT or MRI guides a catheter to the tumor. This is effective treatment for lungs that have only 1 or 2 cancerous lesions.
- Calypso® 4D Localization System™: This allows continuous tracking of targeted tissue for more precise treatment during radiation therapy for lung cancer.
- CT guided biopsy: Uses the latest CT scanning technology with real-time 3D reformatting to accurately target areas for biopsy.
Cardiothoracic surgeons at The University of Kansas Health System are among the first in the country – and among a few in the world – with the expertise to remove lung cancer through a single 2-inch incision. With the help of video-assisted thoracic surgery, physicians can remove lung cancer tumors with greater precision. This minimally invasive approach helps those with lung cancer experience less pain, recover more quickly and return home sooner after their surgery. Your care team will include several specialists who collaborate to determine the best lung cancer treatment option for you.
Life after lung cancer
We offer a full array of support services for you and your family, including pain management, social services, nutritional advice, education, support groups and financial services. Our smoking cessation program can also help you quit smoking and stay smoke-free.
When it comes to fighting lung cancer, knowledge is important medicine. Our Brandmeyer Patient Resource Center provides free materials and information in a comfortable setting. The center’s coordinator is an experienced oncology nurse who can help you and your family find the resources you need.
There are several helpful websites where you can learn more about lung cancer:
- American Lung Association
- Lung Cancer Alliance
- American Thoracic Society
- National Cancer Institute (part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health)
- American Cancer Society
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
The University of Kansas Cancer Center does not assume responsibility for any of the information posted on these sites.