How is lung cancer treated?
Your treatment plan will depend on many factors, including the molecular subtype and stage of your cancer, your age and overall health. Every lung cancer patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives molecular analysis to better tailor treatment using the latest and most advanced methods. Your treatment plan may include:
Lung cancer treatment often involves surgery to remove the cancer, parts of the lung and nearby lymph nodes, where lung cancer often spreads first. Our surgeons are leaders in minimally invasive robotic surgery for lung cancer and can often remove the cancerous area through tiny incisions in between the ribs, without spreading the breastbone. This technique, called the Dylewski method (named after Mark Dylewski, MD) can remove lung cancer without cutting or spreading the ribs. Surgeons from around the world have come here to learn this method. How much of the lung is removed depends on many factors, including the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread, and your overall health and strength (particularly your lung and heart function).
Targeted therapies use innovative medicines to kill cancer cells and stop their growth. These powerful drugs target specific markers and characteristics in the cancer cells.
Immunotherapy is a treatment using your body’s own immune system and cells to fight the cancer. Immunotherapy is increasingly being used to fight lung cancer and many other cancers.
Photodynamic therapy kills cancer cells using a laser to activate a chemical agent that is injected into the bloodstream and drawn to cancer cells.
Chemotherapy uses medicine that goes through the body to kill cancer cells wherever they are. It’s often the primary treatment method for lung cancer that has spread extensively. Chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy to treat lung cancer, a combination that is called chemoradiation.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink or get rid of tumors. Miami Cancer Institute offers advanced techniques that can be helpful in treating lung cancer, including:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) - IMRT uses computers and three-dimensional images from CT scans to focus small radiation beams on and around the tumor without affecting surrounding organs.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) - SBRT is a treatment for non-small cell lung tumors that are small and confined to the lung. SBRT combines IGRT with even more advanced techniques to deliver extremely high doses of radiation to the tumor while minimizing the dose to nearby tissue and structures. It usually involves fewer treatments than other forms of radiation therapy, requires no anesthesia, and leads to better outcomes and fewer side effects than conventional radiation therapy.
- Brachytherapy - Lung cancer can sometimes be treated using intraoperative radiation therapy, a brachytherapy procedure in which we deliver radiation therapy during surgery to help decrease the risk of recurrence. We are also able to deliver high doses of radiation to the airways using a specialized approach called endobronchial brachytherapy. This localized form of radiation therapy may be useful if cancer has returned in the larger airways.
- Proton therapy - Proton therapy delivers high doses of radiation to control and manage cancer while significantly reducing damage to healthy tissue and vital organs. Miami Cancer Institute is the first center in South Florida to offer this treatment and offers a unique combination of sophisticated technology that is unmatched.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center
Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.