Treatment Options for Small Cell Lung Cancer by Stage

TIP ... The Glossary has more information on the medical and scientific terms you'll see in this section.

Small cell lung cancer is most recently being classified into stages in the same way that non-small cell lung cancer is. However, National Cancer Institute treatment guidelines still organize treatment options by whether the small cell lung cancer is limited to the lung or has spread more extensively.

Limited-stage

  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Combination chemotherapy and external radiation therapy
  • Surgery, followed by chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy
  • Radiation therapy to the brain for patients who have had a complete response, to prevent the spread of cancer to the brain; also known as prophylactic cranial irradiation
  • Clinical trials of new chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatments

Extensive disease

  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy to the brain, spine, bone, or other parts of the body where the cancer has spread, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Radiation therapy to the brain in patients who have had a complete response, to prevent the spread of cancer to the brain; also known as prophylactic cranial radiation
  • Clinical trials of new treatment options

Recurrent disease

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Laser therapy, stent placement to keep airways open, and/or internal radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Clinical trial options with new drugs1,2

Updated March 4, 2016


References

  1. Lung Cancer – Small Cell: Treatment Options. American Society of Clinical Oncology website. http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lung-cancer-small-cell/treatment-options. Approved August 2015. Accessed March 4, 2016.
  2. Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment Options by Stage. National Cancer Institute website. http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq#s.... Updated February 3, 2016. Accessed March 4, 2016.

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