Lung Cancer Treatment

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Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lungs, usually in the cells lining the bronchi (air passages). Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both women and men. Most lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer, while about 20% are small cell lung cancer.

Depending on the type of cancer, lung cancer treatment may include:

  • Surgery. Segmental or wedge resection removes a small section of the lung. A lobectomy removes an entire lobe of the lung, while pneumonectomy removes an entire lung. A sleeve resection removes a section of the bronchus and reattaches the lung to the remaining part of the bronchus.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation may be used as part of lung cancer treatment to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be applied externally by directing radiation at the cancer from a machine outside the body or internally using a radioactive substance that is swallowed, injected or implanted near the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy. Anticancer drugs may be used to kill cancer cells or interfere with their ability to divide and grow.

Some of the newer lung cancer treatment options include:

  • Ablation. Lung surgeons use cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation, which use heat or cold to destroy tumor cells, are new image-guided approaches to lung cancer treatment.
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy. This advanced radiation technique that has been shown to be effective for inoperable tumors.
  • Photodynamic therapy. In the treatment of lung cancer, surgeons inject photosensitizing chemicals into the bloodstream, which collect in cancerous cells; the chemicals can later be activated using an endoscopic procedure to direct a laser at the cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy. In this treatment, medications may be used to block the growth of the blood vessels that feed lung cancer tumors.

Brigham and Women's Hospital delivers state-of-the-art lung cancer therapy, as well as surgical treatment for mesothelioma and other cancers of organs in the chest wall.

Learn more about surgical lung cancer treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Lung cancer treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital

At Brigham and Women's Hospital, our specialists provide the highest levels of care and innovative surgical lung cancer treatment options to patients. From personalized cancer treatment to state-of-the-art surgical techniques and a broad range of support services, lung cancer treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital is designed to increase the chances of survival and improve the quality of life for lung cancer patients.

Specialized treatment for women with advanced lung cancer

Women with advanced lung cancer also have access to the Women's Lung Cancer Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. The Program offers a wide range of support services, including a forum for women with lung cancer, nutritional services, and post-operative services for women undergoing surgery as part of lung cancer treatment.

In addition to lung cancer treatment, surgery for a wide variety of cancers is available at Brigham and Women's Hospital, one of the world's leading institutions for research and treatment. For example, we provide comprehensive surgical treatment for women with breast cancer, including mastectomy, as well as surgical treatment for all types of gynecological cancers.

The Women’s Lung Cancer Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center is a collaboration among world-renowned cancer experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In this video, Yolonda L. Colson, MD, PhD, Director, Women’s Lung Cancer Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains the significance of lung cancer in women, which accounts for more cancer deaths than breast, ovarian and uterine cancer combined. She also describes how lung cancer in men and women differs in terms of risk factors, cancer type and response to treatment.

Find a DoctorFind a Lung Cancer expert for innovative treatment options such as targeted therapies.

Find a Lung Cancer expert for innovative surgical treatment options and targeted drug therapies.

Quality and SafetyLearn how quality and patient safety are at the core of Brigham and Women's mission and vision.

Learn how quality and patient safety are at the core of Brigham and Women's mission and vision. 

Nationally RankedLearn more about how U.S. News & World Report ranks Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Learn more about how U.S. News & World Report ranks Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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