Cancer of the lung can originate in the mucosa of the large bronchi that become obstructed as the cancer grows. With progression of the disease comes a productive cough that is lingering and persistent. A person with lung cancer has detectable cancer cells within their sputum. Lung cancer has been known to spread at an alarming rate throughout the body.
Lung cancer is treated in a variety of ways, including surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Sometimes a combination of all treatment modalities is used. Medications used to treat cancer is called chemotherapy, which is designed to stop the cancer cells from growing any further or to stop the cancer cells from dividing. Chemotherapy is the most popular form of treatment in lung cancer.
If not treated with chemotherapy the survival rate beyond four months is reduced to approximately 50%. With chemotherapy treatment this percentage jumps considerably.
There are several ways that chemotherapy is able to be administered. It can be done through the use of infusion via the intravenous route or given in pill form. In certain situations both of these methods are used. The treatments are done over a period of several weeks to several months. You do not normally need to stay in the hospital for this length of time, but rather come in to a hospital or treatment center in an outpatient setting. Undesirable side effects are common and cannot be avoided, as the medications are also killing other normal cells, as well as the cancer cells.
With treatment a lung cancer patient will find they will experience a variety of different discomforts from hair loss, fatigue, mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. Because everyone is different, symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Chemotherapy treatments usually allow for breaks in administration to allow the body to recover from the onslaught of toxins aimed at killing the cancer cells. During this time there can be some degree of relief. There are also medications that you can take to help alleviate some of the symptoms and side effects of the chemotherapy. If the cancer should recur then a second-line chemotherapy drug regimen is intiated if the patient is able to tolerate it.
Several medications that are used in the treatment of lung cancer include carboplatin, etoposide, paclitaxel, cisplatin, erlotinib, pemetrexed, docetaxel, irinotecan, topotecan, vinorelbine, and gemcitabine. As well, the medication bevacizumab, an IV medication, prevents the tumor from getting nutrition by preventing the formation of blood vessels that are feeding the tumor.
If you are a lung cancer sufferer see your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for your particular situation. Your doctor will guide you and help you to carry out the plan of action for your particular circumstance.