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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Treatment Options by Stage

Occult Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of occult non-small cell lung cancer depends on the stage of the disease. Occult tumors are often found at an early stage (the tumor is in the lung only) and sometimes can be cured by surgery.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with occult non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

Treatment of stage 0 may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage 0 non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage I non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage II non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IIIA Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer that can be removed with surgery may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy followed by surgery.
  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy.
  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Treatment of stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer that cannot be removed with surgery may include the following:

For more information about supportive care for signs and symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, see the PDQ summary on Cardiopulmonary Syndromes.

Non-small cell lung cancer of the superior sulcus, often called Pancoast tumor, begins in the upper part of the lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Treatment of Pancoast tumors may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy alone.
  • Radiation therapy followed by surgery.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given as separate treatments over the same period of time, followed by surgery.
  • Surgery alone.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Some stage IIIA non-small cell lung tumors that have grown into the chest wall may be completely removed. Treatment of chest wall tumors may include the following:

  • Surgery.
  • Surgery and radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy alone.
  • Chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy and/or surgery.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of treatments.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IIIB Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

For more information about supportive care for signs and symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, see the following PDQ summaries:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer may include the following:

For more information about supportive care for signs and symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, see the following PDQ summaries:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • Updated: June 30, 2014