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When you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you and your doctor will plan your treatment based on your specific condition, including your general health, the stage, and type of your cancer, as well as your preferences. The most common option to treat lung cancer include surgery (wedge resection, segmental resection, lobectomy, pneumonectomy), radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and a combination of these treatments.
If cancer has not spread too far, you may opt for surgery, which is performed under general anesthetic. During surgery, your surgeon may remove part of the lung that has the tumor or remove the entire lung. If your doctor recommends radiation or chemotherapy, high-powered energy beams or drugs will be used to kill cancer cells. You may also choose to have immunotherapy, which uses your own immune system to fight cancer.
Your length of stay in Thailand depends on which procedure you underwent. With surgery, you may need to stay for 7 to 14 days. For chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy, the amount of time in Thailand depends on how many cycles are required for your case.
You may be able to go back to work within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, but the total recovery period may take about 6 to 8 weeks. After radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, you may be able to go back to work the next day or when you feel like you are healthy enough to go back. It is best to consult with your doctor how long until you can go back to your normal activities, including exercise.
You usually need to eat a healthy, balanced diet and do light exercises after your treatment. You also need to attend follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your condition. After radiation therapy, protect your skin by avoiding the sun, wearing sunscreen, using aloe vera cream, and wearing loose clothes.
The success rate of lung cancer treatment is rather high. However, each of the treatments carries some side effects and the risk of complications. It is estimated that about 1 in 5 lung cancer surgeries lead to complications, including pneumonia, excessive bleeding, and deep vein thrombosis. For therapies, the risks include pain in the chest, fatigue, persistent cough, hair loss, feeling sick, diarrhea, and infertility.
Some of the alternatives to lung cancer treatment are targeted drug therapy and palliative care. However, if you do not want to undergo any of the treatments, your doctor may recommend comfort care to treat only the symptoms of lung cancer, such as shortness of breath and pain.
After a successful lung cancer treatment, the symptoms you experience before treatment will no longer be there, the chance of your cancer spreading to other organs are greatly reduced.
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