Lung Cancer: Treatment
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia lung cancer patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team of doctors including a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist and a surgeon, who provide highly coordinated, comprehensive care.
Non-small cell lung cancer may be treated first with surgery, to remove the initial tumor. This treatment may be followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. These therapies may be given either alone or in combination.
Small cell lung cancer is often treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, given the same time or one immediately following the other.
There are specific terms referring to the order of treatment.
- Neo-adjuvant treatment refers to having radiation or chemotherapy before surgery. Having one or both of these before surgery may help shrink the tumor - a smaller tumor is easier to take out in surgery.
- Adjuvant treatment refers to chemotherapy or radiation given right after surgery. The goal is to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body. Even if there is no sign of cancer cells, your physician may suggest adjuvant treatment, as it lowers the risk that the cancer may return or spread to other organs.