Lung Cancer Medications
Treatment options for lung cancer include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. These treatments can remove or shrink a cancerous mass or malignant tumor, or attempt to slow its growth or tendency to spread. If surgery is done, but the final findings indicate a high risk of the cancer relapsing, then supplemental treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation may be offered as adjuvant therapy to reduce the risk of relapse. If lung cancer is judged or found to be inoperable for cure, then palliative treatment with radiation and/or chemotherapy may be offered. As palliative options, these treatments are not expected to be curative, but can be of benefit to the patient. Such treatments may relieve symptoms and possibly prolong life. In the palliative care of inoperable lung cancer, there are supportive care drugs that may also be given to prevent and treat adverse effects of radiation and chemotherapy, such as nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, or pain. The following discussion will focus on the use of chemotherapy and related drugs for the treatment of lung cancer.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2014
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Winston W Tan, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
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Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) differs from other lung cancer types because of its rapid growth and propensity for early dissemination.