Lung Cancer Chemotherapy – What To Expect
Effective Lung Cancer Chemotherapy
Cancers of the lungs respond well to chemotherapy treatments in early and advanced stages. Chemo is often given for both small cell and non small-cell types to prevent a recurrence, even when surgery removes detectable cells. Patients can experience side effects from the medication in the short term, but live a better quality of life once they disappear.
A course of lung cancer chemotherapy can be administered intravenously on an outpatient basis, or orally at home. Not all drugs are available in pill form and doctors will switch prescriptions if patients are responding poorly. Medications given in the hospital are monitored by a nurse, which provides an added measure of safety for the patient.
The course often combines two or more medications for killing malignant cells as well as alleviating side effects. Exact dosages are determined by the individual’s health, age, weight and medical history.
Common problems experienced when taking chemo medications include hair loss, nausea and vomiting. The process of killing cancer cells can also cause general fatigue and lack of appetite. However, chemotherapy drugs do not always cause these issues and they are temporary. Hair will grow back when treatment is finished, and anti-nausea medicine will reduce instances of vomiting.
In small-cell cancers, surgery is usually not an option. In non small-cell lung cancer cases there are high incidences of undetectable cells being present after removing the main tumor mass. In these cases, courses of chemo drugs are often given after surgery to ensure there is no recurrence. Combinations include the use of chemo drugs with radiation therapy or hormones.
Late Stage Cancer
A person with a terminal diagnosis will still benefit from receiving chemo treatments. Research has found that treated patients have a higher quality of life and live longer than those who do nothing. Treatment protocols reduce the symptoms of the disease and may offer a cure.
Current methods of managing and curing cancer are effective for many people, but there are ongoing clinical trials working to improve the protocols. People inflicted with this disease may benefit by participating in a clinical trial while helping to advance the science behind it.