Do you know all of your treatment options? | American Lung Association

Do you know all of your treatment options?

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Lung cancer treatment is rapidly advancing. You may be on one or several of these types of standard treatments:

  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical Trials

Some lung cancer patients find themselves looking for other treatment options after their initial (first-line) treatment. Your doctor may recommend one of the following as an additional line of treatment:

  • Chemotherapy
    There are many approved chemotherapy drugs for lung cancer. You can ask your doctor which might be best for the type of lung cancer you have.

  • Should you get another biopsy?

    If you have an EGFR mutation and your cancer grows after your first treatment, your doctor may recommend a liquid biopsy. This simple blood draw will determine if you’ve developed a resistance mutation called T790M. This may guide your treatment decisions. Learn more »

  • Maintenance Therapy
    After completing chemotherapy, your doctor might recommend continuing chemotherapy to help maintain the body’s response to your first treatment.
  • Targeted Therapy
    If you have an EGFR, ALK, ROS-1 or BRAF V600E mutation and your initial treatment doesn’t work or stops working, your doctor may want you to try a second-line targeted therapy for your particular mutation.
  • Immunotherapy
    Immunotherapy harnesses the power of a person’s immune system to fight the cancer. If you have advanced non-small cell lung cancer, you may be eligible for immunotherapy.
  • Clinical Trials
    Clinical trials are carefully designed and monitored research studies. They may give you access to new and emerging treatments that are currently being studied. Participants in lung cancer trials either receive the best-known standard of care or a new therapy being tested. Read LUNG FORCE Hero Karen’s tips for entering a clinical trial and join the Lung Cancer Registry, which may help match you with clinical trials that might be right for your type of lung cancer.

Each person’s lung cancer is different, as are their circumstances. No one can predict the right treatment decision for you. That is why it is important to have detailed conversations with your doctor about the options and how they align with your goals. Use a decision-making resource to guide your conversation.


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 14, 2017.

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