There are some treatment options for lung cancer. The common choices are surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Since each of these treatments carries side effects, you may wonder whether there are any herbs, lifestyle approaches, or alternative therapies that work to help treat it naturally.
If you have lung cancer, deciding the treatment that works best is not always easy. Furthermore, again each treatment has potential risks of complications. Your doctors and specialists will make some recommendations of treatment plan, but the decision will be yours!
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There are some factors that affect the way of your treatment should go, these include:
- Lung cancer has several types (see more these types in here). In general, it is divided into two major types; small cell and non-small cell type. Each of these types is treated differently! So, it’s important to clearly diagnose the type of your lung cancer.
- The stage of the disease, how far advanced it is!
- The cancer’s position and size.
- Your fit status and general health!
Fear or scare may be the first word you have when you need to take surgery. But when your doctor says that you can take surgery, many times this means that there is better chance to treat or even cure the disease.
Surgery can completely remove the cancerous tumor. It is often used for early stages of lung cancer, when the disease is most likely to respond the treatment and easier to treat.
When there are too many cancer cells that have grown and spread to other parts of the body, surgery is not the option. Other treatments that can widely target the cancer cells (such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy) are the option for such case.
Naturally, patients concern about their ability to breath after surgery. Some worry that they will find difficulties in breathing. This may vary from case to case, but you should be able to breathe fairly normally even though with only one lung. However if you have had breathless before surgery, it is likely to continue after surgery.
There are several kinds of surgery to treat lung cancer.
- Wedge resection surgery. A few patients can take it since it is usually recommended for very early stages of the cancer. It is a surgery where only a small piece of lung removed.
- Lobectomy. Typically, it is used if the cancer only affects one lung. It removes one / larger parts of the lung.
- Pneumonectomy, it may be the worst scenario of surgery for lung cancer. Because it is used to remove parts of both lungs and even an entire lung. Typically, it is used when the cancer grows in the middle of lungs or affects both lungs.
As the name suggests, it uses pulses of radiation that can be strong enough to destroy cells of cancer. There are several different ways to use it, depending on how far the cancer has grown and spread.
With other treatments, it can be used for all stages of the disease. For instances, there is a procedure called stereotactic radiotherapy that can help treat very small cancer. And when the disease is not possible to cure, some types of radiotherapy are used to help manage the symptoms and slow the progression /spread of the cancer.
It is powerful cancer-killing medicine. It can be used with the combination of other treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy.
And there are a number of different ways to use it, the following are some examples:
- You may need to take it before surgery. This is intended to help shrink the cancer and raise the chance of getting successful surgery.
- It is often prescribed after surgery to help prevent cancer from coming back.
- It may also be used before and after radiotherapy.
It is usually prescribed in cycles. A cycle means you need to take the medicine for several days. And then afterward, you will have a break cycle which means you temporarily stop taking the medicine for a few weeks in order to allow your body recovers.
The number of cycles you will take is dependent on the grade, type, and severity of your lung cancer. In general, most patients take it for about 4-6 courses of treatment (this may take about 3-6 months).
- Radiofrequency ablation, a new treatment for cancer that uses heat generated by radio waves to help treat the cancer. It is usually used for early stages of the disease.
- Biological therapies. Sometime it is used for alternative option to chemotherapy! It can help disrupt the growth of cancer cells.
- Photodynamic therapy, a treatment that uses laser beam to destroy the cancer cells. It is usually for early stages of the cancer, particularly if patient cannot or don’t want to have surgery.
- Cryotherapy. It uses a special device called cryoprobe to generate very cold temperatures. It can freeze and shrink the cancer. It may be used when the cancer begins to block the airways.
Small cell vs. non-small cell lung cancer
Small cell type is exclusively found in smokers, it is very rare in non-smokers. The bad news, it is likely to grow and spread quickly. Many times, it is advanced when first diagnosed. Therefore, surgery is often not used to treat it.
Non-small cell type (the most common form of lung cancer) has several sub-types. These sub-types are different in size, content, or shape. But they behave in quite similar ways. Therefore, they can be treated with the same treatment approaches – such as with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.
A challenging question, can you treat it naturally! Well, there may be some alternative treatments to choose from.
But so far, there is no adequate evidence that any alternative treatments work. If they do work, they are only intended for complementary option (not the main treatment) because lung cancer is serious condition and even can be life-threatening if not treated properly!
So to keep safe, consult first with your healthcare provider before taking any alternative medications. Even some may cause medical interaction or can be counterproductive.
The following are facts about alternative treatments for lung cancer: