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Chemotherapy may be used before, during, or after other lung cancer treatments, such as surgery or radiation.
Most patients with non-small cell lung cancer receive a combination of chemotherapy drugs.
For patients with small cell cancer — a smaller percentage of people with the disease — chemotherapy is also a mainstay treatment. Chemotherapy can dramatically shrink these fast-growing tumors, sometimes in a matter of weeks.
When chemotherapy is used before surgery or radiation, this is called neoadjuvant therapy. For example, neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be used in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, specifically stage III disease. This type of treatment helps shrink the tumor before surgery or radiation, to increase the likelihood of successful treatment.
For patients with non-small cell lung cancer, chemotherapy medicines are sometimes given for several months after surgery or radiation. This adjuvant therapy has revolutionized the treatment of lung cancer. The goal is to kill any microscopic cancer cells that may be present in the body and prevent cancer from returning.
Studies suggest that in some patients, such as those with non-small cell lung cancer, chemotherapy after surgery can increase the five-year survival rate by as much as 10 or 12 percent.
If cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as in stage IV disease, chemotherapy is an option to prolong survival, reduce pain and other symptoms, and improve a patient’s quality of life.
Please complete this secure form to request an appointment with a UChicago Medicine lung cancer expert. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule the appointment.
This form is not for same- or next-day appointments. If you prefer to speak with someone directly, please call 1-855-702-8222. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately.
For Referring Physicians
To refer a patient for lung cancer care, please call UCM Physician Connect at 1-800-824-2282.