Advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is very difficult to treat. However, this does not mean there are no treatments for it. It is simply that it is more difficult to cure NSCLC when it has reached an advanced stage. Many advanced NSCLC treatments can help to slow down the progress of cancer and allow you to live a longer life.
Common Advanced NSCLC Treatments
Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
A combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may provide better results for NSCLC that has progressed past the stage of effective surgical treatment.
Chemotherapy involves the use of specific targeting drugs that will help to kill cancer cells. Meanwhile, radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation rays to kill cancer cells.
It is important to talk with your doctor before you decide on this treatment. He or she can help you determine which drug and radiation combination could benefit you the best.
Targeted therapies as advanced NSCLC treatments use specific drugs that can recognize cancer cells. These drugs can help to attack cancer cells by attaching onto or blocking particular proteins in the immune system.
Immunotherapy uses drugs that boost the immune system, allowing it to attack cancer cells. It is a relatively new treatment that is performing fairly well in most patients.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first immunotherapy drug for NSCLC in March 2015 and the second in 2016. The first drug, nivolumab (Opdivo), targets the PD-1 protein. Whereas the second drug, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), targets the PDL-1 protein.
It is important to talk with your doctor or an oncologist before you decide which treatment to use. He or she will be able to let you know all of the advanced NSCLC treatments available. The information can help you determine which treatment could work best for you and your condition.
Treatment dosage and length will depend on the severity of your case of NSCLC.
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