Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the most common treatment types for cancer and may be used alone or in combination to treat lung cancer of the lung. Your doctor will plan your treatment by taking into consideration the type and size of the tumour, whether the cancer has spread, your age and general health.


Surgery is performed when the tumour is located away from the centre of the chest and there is little or no spread. The type of operation chosen will depend on the size and position of the tumour. Different types of operations include:

  • Wedge resection: removal of a small part of the lung

  • Lobectomy: removal of a lobe of the lung

  • Pneumonectomy: removal of the entire lung

If you want to know more about surgery, visit our information page or consult a nurse at our CancerLink support centres on 3656 0800.


Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high-energy rays which destroy the cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. It may be used as a stand-alone treatment, before or after surgery to treat all types of lung cancer. There are two kinds of radiotherapy: external radiotherapy and internal radiotherapy.

If you want to know more about radiotherapy, visit our information page.


Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells by disrupting their growth. Doctors may advise having chemotherapy and radiotherapy together, before, or after surgery to minimise the chances of the cancer returning. It’s also used when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

If you want to know more about chemotherapy, visit our information page.

Laser therapy and airway stents

Sometimes lung cancer causes breathlessness by obstructing the trachea (the windpipe), or one of the main airways which allow air to pass from the windpipe into the lungs. If the obstruction is caused by a tumour within the airway, it can often be relieved by laser therapy which burns the tumour. Laser therapy does not destroy the tumour completely, but it does provide relief from symptoms.

New treatment methods

With advances in technology, there are new ways of treating lung cancer such as immunology treatment and specifically-targeted medicine, which can be applied depending on the specific type of lung cancer. Consult your doctor for the best option for you.

Side effects

Cancer treatments can cause a range of side effects. For more information on common side effects and tips on how to cope, please click visit our information page.



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