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Stage 3 and 4 Lung Cancer Treatment

Approximately two-thirds of patients have progressed to stage 3 or stage 4 by the time they are diagnosed with lung cancer. This is often because of the absence of symptoms during the early stages of the disease.

While surgery for stage 3 and stage 4 lung cancer is usually not recommended, it may be effective in specific situations.

Our surgeons are highly regarded as experts in the use of leading-edge minimally invasive surgical techniques and have been able to successfully treat patients deemed “inoperable” by other health facilities.

Surgical treatment options

Surgical resection may be an option for patients with very limited stage 3A lung cancer.

During this stage of the disease, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but has remained localized to one side of the body.

Before surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are typically used first to help control the disease. If the patient responds well to this therapy, our surgeons can then plan the appropriate surgical resection.

Depending on the location and extent of the tumor progression, our surgeons may perform a lobectomy (removal of one lobe of the lung) or a pneumonectomy (removal of an entire lung), along with dissection and removal of the lymph nodes. After surgical resection, adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation may or may not be used, depending on the patient.

Treatments for inoperable lung cancer

Patients diagnosed with inoperable stage 3 and stage 4 lung cancer are eligible to receive a variety of chemotherapy and combined chemotherapy/radiation options.

While not curable, lung cancer at these stages is treatable, and continued advances have been made over the years to improve patient specificity and efficacy of chemotherapy drugs.

Targeted radiation therapy is particularly useful for relieving symptoms associated with metastatic disease to improve quality of life. Patients with inoperable stage 3 and stage 4 lung cancer are referred to highly experienced radiation oncologists who can develop appropriate, individualized treatment plans.

To schedule a consultation with a thoracic surgeon, call 714-456-8000.

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