Finding out that you or someone you love has metastatic cancer is frightening and raises a number of difficult questions. Knowing where to turn and who to listen to isn’t always easy. Learning your options and discussing these thoroughly with your healthcare practitioner will help you and your family more thoroughly understand your treatment options and probable prognosis.
After discovering you have lung cancer, and possibly metastatic disease, it is important for an individual to choose their healthcare practitioner based on a treatment approach that the individual can believe in and live with. Certain facilities are available around the country that employ both complementary medicine as well as traditional Western medicine. Other facilities only address cancer using complementary medicine and still others only address cancer using traditional Western medicine. What ever your choice it must be your choice, and it must be one that is made with all the information that is available at the time.
Complementary and alternative therapies for people who have metastatic lung cancer will include nutritional therapy, pain management, spiritual support and naturopathic or holistic medicine. Alternative therapies can also include counseling, acupuncture, and meditation. Any complementary or alternative therapy is designed to boost the immune system of the individual and help the body heal itself.
Other more traditional Western medicine treatments for metastatic cancer will depend upon where the cancer has spread, the amount of spread, and the differentiation of the cells. Treatment options will include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, hormone therapy, surgery, cryosurgery or a combination of these options. The choice will depend upon the primary cancer and the location of the metastasis. The physician and individual should also take into account the persons age, general health and any other treatments or medical conditions that the individual has experienced. The goal of treatment is to control the cancer, to relieve the symptoms or side effects of the treatment and ultimately to extend the life of the individual in such a manner that they are able to enjoy a months or years they have left.
Another treatment option which has been developed is called radio surgery or stereotactic radiotherapy. This is the precise way of delivering high doses of radiation over a very short period of time and is common alternative to surgery for people who have metastasis in the brain. Over the past years it has been used as an alternative for people who have metastasis of a primary tumor that has spread to the lungs.
The treatment is done in a hospital and requires very sophisticated technology. CT scans are used to localize each tumor prior to treatment and respiratory therapists help to select patients who may potentially benefit from the procedure.
Treatment for metastasis of lung cancer is specifically designed to meet the individual needs of the patient. Physicians and the patient should take into account lifestyle choices, the individual’s age as well as responsibilities before choosing the type of treatment to extend the life of the individual.