How is small cell lung cancer treated?
Choosing a treatment plan
If you have small cell lung cancer, your treatment choices might include:
The main treatment will most likely be chemotherapy (chemo), either alone or with radiation. Very rarely, surgery might be done if it is limited stage cancer.
You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options. Many other experts may be involved in your care as well (nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, etc.)
After the cancer is found and staged, your doctors will talk to you about treatment choices. Be sure to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors so you can decide which option is best for you. (See the section “What are some questions I can ask my doctor about small cell lung cancer?”)
Important things to think about include the stage and type of cancer, your overall health, the likely side effects of the treatment, and the chance of curing the cancer, helping you live longer, or relieving symptoms. Age alone should not keep you from having treatment. Older people can be helped by treatment as much as younger people as long as their general health is good.
If time allows, it is often a good idea to get a second opinion. This can give you more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan you choose.
Last Medical Review: 09/09/2013
Last Revised: 02/11/2014