Although there are several options for treating cancer, each therapy works in a different way. That's because every person—and every cancer case—is unique.

New advancements in cancer treatment are being developed all the time. Targeted therapies are treatments designed for specific types of lung cancer, while immunotherapies work with the body's immune system.

Depending on the stage of lung cancer, an oncologist may prescribe one or more treatments or work with other specialists to make sure you’re receiving the best possible treatment. 

Treatment Overview

There are many types of treatment for lung cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. 

  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy have been used to treat cancer for years. Targeted therapies and immunotherapies are newer treatments 
  • Surgery removes the cancer and is sometimes used along with other treatments. It may be an option for the early stages of lung cancer and provides the best chance of a cure. This is a treatment option for cancer in stages 0-3
  • Chemotherapy attacks all fast-growing cells in the body, like cancer cells. This is a treatment option for cancer in stages 2 through 4
  • Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to target cancer cells and keep them from growing. Similar to an X-ray, radiation therapy only lasts a few minutes and does not cause pain during the procedure. This is a treatment option for cancer in stages 2 through 4
  • Chemoradiation therapy is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It may be given one after the other (sequential) or they may be given in combination with each other (concurrent)
  • Targeted therapies focus on cancer cells and attack what’s causing the cancer to grow and spread. There are several targeted treatment options for stage 4 lung cancer, depending on the person’s biomarker testing results. Learn more about targeted therapies 
  • Immunotherapies help enable the body’s immune system to see cancer cells as a foreign element in the body and to attack them like it would a virus or an infection. This is a treatment option for cancer in stage 3 and stage 4. Learn about an immunotherapy option available for people with stage 3 NSCLC whose cancer can't be removed by surgery, and has not progressed after a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy 

Starting the discussion with your doctor can help you decide the best treatment option based on the specific details of the lung cancer you have.

Starting the discussion with your doctor can help you decide the best treatment option based on the specific details of the lung cancer
you have.