Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. It is difficult to treat even with the most aggressive treatment options. In some cases, the damage to a lung is so extensive that a lung transplant is needed. Lung transplants are a procedure that replaces a lung with a donated lung. If the patient had lung cancer before the surgery, there is a chance that the transplant could cure cancer under the right conditions.
Lung Cancer Treatments
Lung cancer is difficult to treat because it is fast-growing, resistant to treatments, and located in a part of the body that makes it difficult to apply more aggressive techniques. There are many ways to treat lung cancer, including:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a treatment method that uses doses of chemicals to kill cancer cells. These chemicals are chosen because they specifically affect fast-growing cells. Cancer grows faster than other types of cells, making it easier for chemotherapy to attack cancer directly.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure that removes cancerous tissue for further analysis. If done in the early stages, a biopsy can remove all of the cancerous cells.
- Lung transplant: In the most severe cases, the entire lung can be replaced with a lung transplant. If cancer is concentrated in just one lung, this can remove all of it from the body and effectively cure the patient.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses doses of targeted radiation to kill cancer cells. Several types of radiation can be used for different levels of effectiveness and conditions.
Lung cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, some not included on this list. Before beginning any type of treatment, it is important to see a physician for a full assessment. These treatments can have a strong effect on the rest of your body and proper precautions need to be taken to ensure your health.
Lung Transplant Candidacy
Not everyone is qualified for a lung transplant. There is a specific set of conditions that you must meet to qualify for the procedure. The most notable requirement is a condition that has persisted through all of the other possible methods of treatment. For lung cancer, a patient must be in the later stages of the disease and have no chance of recovering without replacing the lung. This includes trying all of the other surgical, medical, and mechanical procedures that are available.
Another requirement is that the damage and resulting problems must be isolated within the lung that will be removed. This ensures that replacing the lung will be an effective solution. Otherwise, the patient will likely suffer other failures and problems related to the disease. Lung transplants are rare and patients must adhere to strict guidelines to remain a candidate for a lung transplant, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Even though it could be a cure for lung cancer, lung transplants are not used often because of the intensity of the operation and recovery. Most patients are not in the right physical condition to survive the surgery or for long afterward.
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Lung Transplants for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer can quickly lead to severe lung damage and respiratory problems. It grows extremely quickly and can become a major problem within a matter of months. In the most extreme cases and when patients fit the requirements, surgeons turn to lung transplants to help lung cancer patients.
There is a chance, under the right conditions, that a lung transplant can cure lung cancer. It simply removes all of the cancer cells with the lung. However, the cancer cells must be fully contained within the one lung for this to work. In other cases, patients need a lung transplant because the combination of the cancer and cancer treatments heavily damaged a lung. Having the transplant can extend the patient’s life after the cancer is cured and restore some level of comfort and functionality.
Lung Cancer Treatment Outcomes
The possible treatment options for lung cancer have different outcomes; you and your physician should look at the common lung cancer treatment outcomes before choosing a method of treatment, according to Translational Lung Cancer Research. Chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy has the best chance of curing lung cancer. The two combined treatments create a blanket of coverage that is hard for the cancer cells to survive. Either chemotherapy and radiation therapy by themselves also have largely positive outcomes. Targeted treatments are also effective at slowing the progression of the disease significantly. Surgery is often the last option chosen because it has the highest potential for negative outcomes. The surgery itself can be dangerous for patients with compromised health and surgeons are limited in how much tissue they can remove without causing more damage than they prevent.
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Lung cancer can be naturally occurring, but it is also linked to asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one previously worked with asbestos and developed lung cancer, contact our firm to see if there is a legal case that can get you the financial compensation to help with medical bills. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to talk to a legal team about your options.