Lung Cancer Treatment Options
A diagnosis of lung cancer presents many complex decisions for obtaining the best and most effective treatment. At Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute, we offer patients state-of-the-art therapies with the added convenience and comfort of receiving treatment and follow-up care close to home.
Patients with lung cancer of all types and at all stages receive excellent care at Doylestown Hospital or the Health and Wellness Center in Warrington, PA. In addition, as a member of Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network, our patients have access to highly specialized treatment options and direct referral to innovative research and clinical trials for lung cancer not available anywhere else in the Philadelphia region.
Leading-Edge Treatment Options for Lung Cancer
At Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute, our multidisciplinary team of specialists provides patients and their families with compassionate and individualized care using comprehensive and leading-edge treatment options. Our doctors utilize multi-modality care plans to treat lung cancer and reduce any unwanted side effects.
There are two major forms of lung cancer, small-cell-lung-cancer (SCLC) and non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC). The most common form is NSCLC, accounting for approximately 85 to 90 percent of all people with lung cancer. Treatment approaches are tailored to each patient's individual needs.
Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute's specialists offer the full range of treatment options for lung cancer including infusion therapies, radiation therapies, targeted therapies, surgical procedures and clinical trials. We also offer neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapies to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
Neoadjuvant therapy is given before the main type of treatment to increase the chances of successful response or shrink the tumor. Adjuvant therapy is given after the main type of treatment to lower the risk that cancer will return or increase the chances of cure.
When appropriate, Doylestown Health's oncologists use emerging trends in chemotherapy strategies, including genetic testing and analysis of tumor markers, to develop personalized treatment plans for patients.
Hematology Oncology and Infusion Therapies
Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute's Outpatient Infusion Unit offers a spacious and comfortable environment for patients with lung cancer to receive infused medications and other therapies including:
- Chemotherapy: These specialized drugs, administered intravenously, subcutaneously, orally or topically, fight and destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with other treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or targeted therapies.
- Hormone therapy: These drugs slow the growth of cancer cells and are typically used in conjunction with an overall treatment plan.
- Immunotherapy: Also called biologic therapy or biotherapy, uses certain parts of the immune system to fight cancer and lessen the side effects of treatment. Immunotherapy works by stimulating, repairing or enhancing your own immune system to work harder to attack cancer cells or to distinguish healthy cells from cancerous cells. New immune-based cancer treatments are currently being used to treat lung and other major forms of cancer.
- Targeted molecular therapy: Refers to a medication or drug that targets a specific pathway in the growth and development of a tumor. This therapy helps fight the tumor itself by attacking or blocking these important targets, which are molecules or small particles in the body that are known or suspected to play a role in cancer formation.
Radiation Treatment at Penn Radiation Oncology Doylestown
Patients with lung cancer are frequently treated with radiation therapy, which stops cancer cells from dividing and growing and slows or stops the tumor's growth. Penn Radiation Oncology Doylestown is an outpatient radiation treatment program located within Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute. As a Penn Medicine satellite location, we are equipped with the most advanced technology including a state-of-the-art linear accelerator, a computer-controlled device that delivers radiation treatment. Our cancer specialists work closely with board-certified Penn radiation oncologists to plan, coordinate and administer the most advanced radiation therapies including:
- Conformal radiation therapy (CRT): Helps shape the radiation treatment beam to the shape of the tumor and gives doctors more control when treating tumors. In conformal radiation, a special computer uses CT imaging scans to create 3-D maps of the location of the cancer in the body and permits the delivery of radiation from several directions so that the beams conform to match the shape of the cancer. It limits radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and the tissue in the beam's path.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): Uses frequent imaging during a course of radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of the delivery of the radiation treatment. A linear accelerator takes pictures of the tumor immediately before or during the time radiation is delivered. IGRT precisely targets the radiation at the cancer site to ideally avoid healthy surrounding tissue.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): An advanced form of radiotherapy which uses a linear accelerator to deliver precise doses of radiation to tumors or specific areas within the tumors. IMRT allows for the radiation dose to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor by controlling or modulating the intensity of the radiation beam. The therapy allows higher radiation doses to be delivered to regions within the tumor while minimizing the dose to the surrounding area.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT): Also known as phototherapy or photoradiation therapy, brings together light-sensitive medication with low-level beams of light to destroy cancer cells. The laser light used in PDT can be directed through a fiber-optic strand placed close to the cancer cells through a bronchoscope into the lungs for the treatment of lung cancer. This treatment is available to eligible patients at Penn Medicine's University City main campus.
For patients requiring highly specialized stereotactic radiosurgery treatment, Doylestown Health's cancer specialists collaborate with their colleagues at Penn Medicine for direct referral to advanced therapies including:
- CyberKnife®: A radiosurgery system that is a noninvasive alternative to surgery for treating cancerous and noncancerous tumors. CyberKnife® does not require an incision and uses high-dose radiation to target tumors.
- Gamma Knife®: This is a powerful treatment approach for lung cancer that has spread to the brain. It involves a detailed mapping of the brain and works by directing beams precisely at the brain tumor, skull base tumors and other brain disorders. It does not damage healthy tissue and prevents cancer cells from multiplying. After treatment, the tumor stops growing and may disappear over time.
- Proton therapy: Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute's patients with lung cancer may be treated at Penn Medicine’s Roberts Proton Therapy Center in Philadelphia, the largest and most advanced facility in the world for this precise form of cancer radiation. Proton therapy is external beam radiotherapy in which protons are directed at a tumor. The radiation dose that is given through protons is extremely precise, and limits the exposure of normal tissues beyond conventional radiation. The result is a better chance for curing cancer with fewer harmful side effects.
Surgical Treatment for Lung Cancer
Doylestown Health offers all major surgical treatments for lung cancer. Our board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons are fellowship-trained and nationally recognized in their field, and are named among the best in the region by Philadelphia Magazine's Top Docs. They specialize in complex lung cancer surgery procedures including:
- Lobectomy: Surgical removal of an entire section or lobe of a lung
- Mediastinal lymph node removal/sampling: Pre-therapeutic surgical procedure to determine the most accurate staging of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to assist in treatment decisions and prognosis. The results of this procedure depend on the number of lymph nodes removed or sampled and it has technical limitations, especially for left upper lobe tumors.
- Pneumonectomy: Surgical removal of an entire lung
- Sleeve resection: Treats some cancers in large airways of the lung to preserve lung function
- Thoracotomy: Surgical procedure that makes an incision into the chest wall to examine the lungs; remove a lung or part of a lung; remove a rib; examine, treat or remove organs in the chest cavity; remove tumors and metastatic growths; or biopsy or take a tissue sample to examine for evidence of abnormal cells.
- Video-assisted thorocoscopic surgery (VATS): Treats early stage lung cancers near the outside of the lung with smaller incisions than a thoracotomy. This procedure uses an endoscope or thin, rigid tube with a tiny video camera on the end that is inserted inside the chest to visually examine on a TV monitor the pleura, lung and mediastinum and to obtain tissue for testing purposes.
- Wedge resection or segmentectomy: Partial removal of a lobe of a lung
After surgery, patients receive advanced nursing care by our expert intensive care unit (ICU) team with a smooth transition to the hospital's telemetry unit for continuous monitoring. In addition, early after discharge, the surgical office Physician Assistant (PA) is available to make personal house calls to ensure continuity of care and the best outcomes possible.
Minimally-Invasive Surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System
Doylestown Hospital was the first health care facility in Bucks County to acquire the da Vinci® Surgical System, which uses surgical and robotic technology to make small incisions in the chest to remove a tumor and to spare surrounding healthy tissue from the affected lung. Doylestown Health's thoracic surgeons use robotic procedures to treat early stages of lung cancer or as secondary treatment after chemotherapy or radiation therapy or to perform robotic biopsies to assess suspicious lung nodules.
Additional Treatment Options
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Uses an image-guided, minimally invasive technique that heats and destroys cancer cells. RFA uses ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide a needle electrode into a cancerous tumor. High frequency electrical currents pass through the electrode, creating heat that destroys abnormal cells.
Lung Cancer Clinical Trials and Research at Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), one of the largest clinical cancer research organizations in the United States, and conducts clinical trials in all types of adult cancers, including lung cancer. Our cancer care team is proud to offer local patients the most current opportunities and the convenience of participating in these vitally important cancer research programs close to home.