After your doctor has a full understanding of the extent and genetic alterations of your cancer, your cancer team will develop an initial treatment plan.
The plan will be discussed and refined with you, the patient, based on your treatment and quality of life goals. Your treatment plan is based on your cancer and your goals. Treatment plans may change during the treatment based on the effectiveness and tolerance of the treatment.
There are two categories of treatment – localized and systemic.
Localized treatments include invasive surgery, non-invasive surgery, and a myriad of radiation treatment methods. All designed to treat a localized area.
Systemic treatments consist of drugs that circulate through the entire body. These include traditional chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. These different types of systemic treatments can be used alone or in combination to treat lung cancer that is locally advanced (Stage III) or metastatic (Stage IV). Goals of systemic therapy include cure or palliation of symptoms. In the curative setting, treatment may be given before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) for a set duration of time. In the palliative setting, treatment is given indefinitely, as long as the patient is tolerating therapy and the disease is not progressing.
Treatment plans may be a combination of localized and systemic treatments.