Treatment

We provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment options for patients with lung cancer. Doctors tailor a treatment plan for each patient to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Treatment may include:

  • Surgery

    Sentara Cancer Network’s thoracic surgeons remove the tissue that contains the tumor as well as nearby lymph nodes

    Healing time after surgery is different for each patient. Typically, patients stay in the hospital a week or more and are able to return to normal activities within several weeks. Sentara Cancer Network nurses, respiratory therapists and other specialists work closely with patients, teaching techniques for successful recovery after surgery.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and can affect cancer cells all over the body. Anticancer drugs for lung cancer are usually administered intravenously. Some can be taken orally.

    Chemotherapy is given in cycles. Patients have a rest period after each treatment. The length of the rest period and the number of cycles depend on the anticancer drugs used. Patients may receive treatment in a clinic, at the doctor's office or at home. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.

    Sometimes, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are given at the same time, called chemoradiation. Chemoradiation is used to increase the effectiveness of each treatment.

  • Radiation Oncology

    Radiation oncology, also called radiation therapy, uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It targets cells only in the treated area, sparing healthy surrounding tissue.

    External radiation, which comes from a large machine outside the body, is the most common type of radiation therapy for lung cancer. Most people go to a hospital or clinic for radiation treatment, typically five days a week for several weeks.

  • Brachytherapy/Radioactive Seed Implant Therapy

    Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy in which a radioactive source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. The technique is used to target cancerous tissue with the highest radiation dose, while sparing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

  • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapy uses drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. The drugs, which are given orally or by IV, enter the bloodstream and can affect cancer cells all over the body. Some people with non-small cell lung cancer that has spread receive targeted therapy.

  • Integrative Therapies

    Integrative therapies combine conventional treatment modalities with holistic approaches related to diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress care and nutrition. Some therapies may help relieve symptoms of cancer, reduce side effects of treatment or improve a patient's sense of well-being. For example, patients may drink peppermint tea for nausea, or engage in massage therapy, yoga or meditation to reduce stress.

    We also offer unique integrative therapy programs. Pet therapy, in which therapy dogs are brought to the infusion units of the hospital, help calm and comfort chemotherapy patients. Our healing touch program offers a hand-on energy therapy that is designed to help boost patients’ natural ability to heal.

  • Follow-up Care

    Regular checkups, which may include physical exams, blood tests and CT scans, are provided after lung cancer treatment. Checkups help ensure that any health changes are monitored and treated, if necessary. Patients stay in close communication with their doctors if they experience any problems between checkups.

  • Palliative Care

    Palliative therapy is care given to improve the quality of life for patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat symptoms of disease, side effects caused by treatment, and psychological, social and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment.

    The multidisciplinary treatment team that provides palliative care includes  medical doctors, nurse practitioners and licensed clinical social workers.

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