Understand the basics of chemotherapy for lung cancer in this short video from Hope with Answers. Our intro series provides basic information for those newly diagnosed with lung cancer. In this video, patient advocate Montessa Lee discusses chemotherapy for lung cancer with Johns Hopkins University lung cancer researcher, Dr. Vincent Lam.
In this 3-minute video, you will learn the answers to these 3 questions:
- What is chemotherapy and what are the side effects?
- What are the different ways chemotherapy is used in lung cancer treatment
- Why is chemotherapy still being used with all the new treatments that are available now?
What is chemotherapy and what are the side effects?
Chemotherapy is a broad term for many drugs used to treat cancer. Using a drug (or a combination of drugs) that has cell-killing abilities, chemotherapy also interferes with the cell’s ability to replicate. Although it does kill fast-growing cancer cells, it also does damage good cells.
The most common side effects of chemotherapy are:
- Low blood counts
- Hair loss
What are the different ways chemotherapy is used in lung cancer treatment?
Most commonly given as an IV infusion or injection, chemotherapy treatments can also be delivered as a pill. In the case of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), chemotherapy is currently the primary treatment since SCLC spreads quickly from the lungs to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is administered either alone or in combination with radiation therapy and, in some cases, immunotherapy for SCLC.
Why is chemotherapy still a treatment with all the negative side effects?
Chemotherapy still maintains an important role in lung cancer treatment even with the new treatments available like targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Because chemotherapy acts so readily with predictable side effects, it’s It’s often used in conjunction with targeted therapy or immunotherapy to help make those treatments work better.