Other Treatments for Lung Cancer
En Español (Spanish Version)

Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses lasers and a chemical absorbed by the body. The chemical (called hematoporphyrin) is given by an injection into your vein and is absorbed by the cancer cells. An infrared light source is then aimed at the cancer, and the cells that have absorbed the chemical undergo a reaction and start to die.

Photodynamic therapy is often used to decrease symptoms, rather than cure cancer. It may help control bleeding or breathing problems. This technique can be very effective, but it is not considered a standard option like surgery , chemotherapy , or radiation . Photodynamic therapy is only offered at some medical centers around the country and is best used when there is not much cancer to be killed; the chemical is absorbed less than ¼ inch into the tumor, so a big tumor will not be affected by this method.

Photodynamic therapy will make your skin and eyes more sensitive than normal to light for at least six weeks. Avoid the sun. If you must go outside, wear sunglasses and protective clothing. When indoors, avoid bright indoor lighting.

Intraoperative Brachytherapy
When a tumor extends into a bronchus, radiation therapy may be delivered directly to the tumor by means of brachytherapy. In this situation, a small tube is inserted down the bronchus, and a radioactive source is placed near the tumor site. This procedure can be used to deliver higher doses to a small area and is also useful in helping to control bleeding from a tumor that has grown into a bronchus.

YAG Laser
The YAG laser is a special light source that can be used by the doctor (usually a pulmonologist or surgeon) to core out an area where cancer is located and is blocking your airway. The YAG laser may be appropriate when there is a tumor in the airway preventing air from passing through. This treatment is also used when radiation or surgery cannot be given.

Stent
Stents are mesh devices that keep an airway open. The doctor will insert the stent into your airway through a bronchoscope and then open it up. The stent is designed to hold the airway open from the inside when the tumor is otherwise trying to close it down. The stent only serves as a meshwork lattice and cannot keep the tumor from ultimately growing through. It is usually used as a temporary solution; other treatments may be necessary along with it.

When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you:

  • Develop side effects from the treatment
  • Develop new or unusual symptoms
  • Notice your skin is red, blistered, or swollen
  • Develop swelling in your neck or arms
  • Develop fever, soreness, or bleeding
  • Develop cough or cough up blood



References:
Learn about cancer: non-small cell. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp . Accessed October 7, 2008.

Learn about cancer: small cell. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp . Accessed October 7, 2008.

Lung cancer. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/ . Accessed October 7, 2008.

Lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/lung . Accessed October 7, 2008.

Last Reviewed September 2013



Health Information Library content is provided by EBSCO Publishing, fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

 

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

 

To send comments or feedback to EBSCO's Editorial Team regarding the content please e-mail healthlibrarysupport@ebscohost.com.