19768 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Other Treatments for Lung Cancer

    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/lrn/lrn%5F0.asp . Accessed October 7, 2008.

    Learn about cancer: small cell. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/lrn/lrn%5F0.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.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.