Treatment Options for Carcinoid Tumours of the Lung

Updated at: Aug 13, 2018
Treatment Options for Carcinoid Tumours of the Lung

Carcinoid tumours of the lung are slow growing tumours that seldom spread to other parts of the body beyond the lungs.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
CancerWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Aug 13, 2018

Carcinoid tumours of the lung are slow-growing tumours that seldom spread to other parts of the body beyond the lungs. Therefore, many cases may be diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and are curable.

Treatment of carcinoid tumours of the lung is influenced by factors such as:

  • Stage of cancer (whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs)
  • Location and type of a tumour
  • Your age and general health (presence of any other serious medical conditions)
  • Your preferences

Treatment options for carcinoid tumours of the lung include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Surgery: This is usually the primary therapy for most cases of people with a carcinoid tumour. If a tumour is limited to the lung/s (has not spread beyond the lung), it can often be cured by surgery alone. There are many types of surgeries that are done for carcinoid tumours of the lungs. Your doctor will choose the type of surgery that is needed based on factors, such as size and location of a tumour and whether you have any other lung problems or serious diseases. The various surgeries done for carcinoid tumour of the lung include:

  • Sleeve resection (a part of the lung is removed, and the remaining parts are sewen back as if cutting across above and below a stain on the sleeve and sewing the cuff back onto the shortened sleeve)
  • Wedge resection (a wedge-shaped piece of the lung with a small tumour is removed when a tumour is located at the edges of the lungs away from the large airways)
  • Lobectomy (an entire lobe of the lung is removed)
  • Pneumonectomy (if a tumour has many spots in a lung or is in a place, which is difficult to remove, the entire left or right lung may be removed)

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a mode of cancer treatment, which uses certain drugs to destroy or kill cancer cells. During chemotherapy, the drug is usually given through a vein (intravenous) or orally (by mouth). Chemotherapy is generally not used for carcinoid tumours of the lung, and its response to treatment is usually not good. Chemotherapy is often given for carcinoid tumours that have spread beyond the lung/s (to other organs), are causing severe symptoms or are not amenable to other treatment. Some cases of carcinoid tumours are given chemotherapy after surgery to treat any a remaining tumour.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy or radiotherapy uses high-powered energy beams (X-rays or other energy beams) to kill or destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation therapy is directed at the affected area, and the cancer cells are treated or destroyed. In external beam radiation therapy, radiation is given by a machine placed outside your body. The machine directs the beam of radiation to specific points on your body where the cancer is located. Radiation therapy, however, is not very effective for lung carcinoid tumours. Radiation therapy is used in cases with carcinoid tumours:

  • That cannot be removed surgically
  • After surgery, if an entire tumour was not removed
  • To relieve symptoms such as pain if cancer has spread beyond the lung/s (to the bones or other areas)

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