Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI 02903
. . . . . .
The Miriam Hospital
164 Summit Avenue
Providence, RI 02906
Treatment for lung cancer may consist of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biotherapy or a combination of these. Chemotherapy and/or radiation are sometimes used before surgery to shrink the tumor. They may also be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Surgery is usually performed when the lung cancer is detected in only one lung and in nearby lymph nodes (usually stage 1 or 2). Surgery removes all or a portion of a lung to eliminate the cancer. The specific types of surgery are:
Chemotherapy kills cancer cells by interfering with the cellular chemistry. One or more types of chemotherapy may be used. This can be administered by mouth or by injection into a vein (IV). These medications travel through the blood stream to all parts of the body. This treatment is used in all stages of lung cancer and can prolong life even in elderly persons as long as they are in good general health.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is a procedure that delivers high-energy x-rays that can destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. Radiation can also be used to relieve shortness of breath by helping to open blocked airways. Radiation can also be used to help relieve pain. Most often, radiation therapy is delivered by the external beam technique, which aims a beam of x-rays directly at the tumor. Treatment is given in a series of sessions, often over six weeks.
The Comprehensive Cancer Center is a world pioneer in some radiotherapy treatments, offering the most effective radiotherapy treatments for cancer, including:
The Trilogy Stereotactic System is the world's premier image-guided system that allows physicians to pinpoint cancer in the head, neck and body, and use the most effective treatments for each type of cancer. The Comprehensive Cancer Center is the first in the state to offer this powerful system. Trilogy is capable of delivering all forms of external beam radiation.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a noninvasive procedure that uses pinpoint delivery of radiation therapy for various types of cancer, including prostate cancer, head and neck cancers, brain tumors, and some lung and pancreatic cancers. IMRT causes no fatigue, nausea or hair loss and enables better control of radiation to preserve the surrounding healthy tissue.
Combination treatment of radiofrequency ablation and high dose rate brachytherapy, a form of radiation therapy, was first performed at the Comprehensive Cancer Center. We are now leading a national clinical trial of the combination treatment.
Tumor ablation may heat or freeze tumors to destroy them. The Comprehensive Cancer Center is a national leader in the use of tumor ablation, offering:
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive technique that uses heat to destroy tumors. It was designed to destroy liver tumors, but has proven to be successful at eliminating tumors in other parts of the body. We were the first in the country to explore additional applications for RFA. Today, RFA is used successfully to treat breast, kidney, liver, lung, adrenal and bone cancers.
A minimally invasive procedure, microwave ablation heats and destroys tumors using microwave energy. We performed the first microwave ablation procedure in the United States; we are currently one of only ten facilities in the country that offer the treatment and we are leading the clinical trials.
Biotherapy uses the body's own natural agents, such as proteins, to stimulate the immune system to target cancer cells. The terms biotherapy or immuno- therapy are often used interchangeably. Biotherapy agents are broken down into four categories: interferons, interleukins, hematopoietic growth factors, and monoclonal antibodies. Some of the agents are also known as cytokines.
Small cell lung cancer spreads quickly throughout the body. For that reason, treatment must include chemotherapy. Surgery is rarely used to treat small cell lung cancer and is only considered if it is limited small cell lung cancer with only one tumor that has not spread. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment will be needed after surgery. However, because the disease has usually spread by the time of diagnosis, very few patients with small cell lung cancer are candidates for surgery