Alternative Treatment Options
Radiosurgery is a non-invasive treatment using precise and intense beams of radiation to target the cancer. It borrows from the term “surgery” as this treatment is considered a form of “bloodless” surgery, where the tumour is destroyed without the need for an operation and its accompanying risks, in just a few outpatient sessions.
Radiosurgery is an example of how recent technological advances have enabled new treatment options in the treatment of lung cancer. Radiosurgery is now recommended in American and European guidelines as an alternative to surgery in patients with high operative risk, and as an option to be discussed in patients with standard operative risk. Call us today to find out more on Radiosurgery.
In patients unsuitable for surgery or radiosurgery (such as in larger tumours or more advanced cancers), targeted radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is usually the primary treatment. It is also sometimes used before or after surgery. Such treatments use radiation beams of lesser intensity then radiosurgery and are delivered over a longer period of 6-7 weeks.
Advanced radiotherapy techniques, such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) or Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) are used nowadays to deliver targeted radiotherapy. Compared to radiotherapy a few decades ago, these techniques cause fewer side effects and may be more effective.
Immunotherapy is one of the newest treatments for lung cancer. Unlike other treatment, it does not attack cancer cells directly but stimulates a person’s immune system to recognise and destroy cells on their own. Such treatments therefore cause fewer side effects and may be more effective.
Chemotherapy for lung cancer can be given before surgery (to shrink the tumour), or after surgery (where the risk of recurrence is high). It can also be combined with radiotherapy. In cases where the cancer has spread beyond the lung to other parts, chemotherapy may be the primary treatment.