Treatment Options for Lung Cancer

The patient and doctor should work together to choose a lung cancer treatment plan based on a number of factors. These include the type and stage of lung cancer; the patient’s overall health; and the patient’s preferences.

Lung cancer treatments typically include one or more types of therapy, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, or immunotherapy. Sometimes a clinical trial with one or more of these types of treatment will be a possibility. In some cases the doctor may also suggest palliative care, also called comfort care, to treat the symptoms the lung cancer is causing, such as pain or shortness of breath.1

In other cases, a patient may choose not to undergo treatment for the lung cancer. In that case, the doctor may suggest hospice care to help manage pain and other symptoms, with a focus on quality of life. Read about hospice care.

Treatment Options by Type of Lung Cancer

The recommended treatment options may vary depending on whether the cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and the stage of the disease. Treatment options are outlined by type and stage of the lung cancer on separate pages.

Types of Treatment

For more information on each type of treatment, click on the relevant link below.

On each treatment page, you will find a list of questions you can ask your health care team about that particular treatment. To see a complete list of these and other questions, see Asking the Right Questions.


  1. Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell Treatment Options. American Society of Clinical Oncology website. Approved August 2015. Accessed March 4, 2016.