Lung Cancer: Treatment Options

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, as well as globally. There are several types of lung cancer, and treatment will vary depending on the type and stage of cancer. As with most cancers, finding it early increases your options for treatment and gives you a higher likelihood of survival, which is why the medical field has been working hard to discover effective screening methods for the disease. If lung cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, surgery to remove the cancerous tissue has proven effective.

Because lung cancer is currently most often discovered in an advanced stage, research efforts are focused on developing treatments that can improve survival rates when caught in a late stage. For advanced stage lung cancer patients, a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and/or immunotherapy or targeted agents can increase survival rates and improve the quality of life. Targeted therapies are newer cancer treatments that work by targeting specific abnormalities in cancer cells. Some targeted therapies only work in people whose cancer cells have certain genetic mutations. Exciting new immunotherapies, focused on using antibodies to stop cancer cells from growing, also offer promise for treating advanced lung cancer.

Because lung cancer treatment must be individualized for each patient, Cone Health takes a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to treating the disease.  Patients are given access to the appropriate care management from a dedicated team of pulmonologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and other cancer-related medical professionals to develop the best treatment plan for each individual patient.

Physician Background:

Dr. Robert Byrum is a pulmonologist at LeBauer Pulmonary Care at Elam and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Byrum is a 2000 medical school graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center and completed a fellowship in pulmonary sciences and critical care medicine at University of Colorado Medical Center.