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Stage 4 Treatment Basics

Stage 4 Treatment Basics

December 14, 2021
Sanjay Juneja, MD
Sanjay Juneja, MD

Medical Oncology

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There are many options that are there for treatment of stage four lung cancer, and several treatments continue to come out and be studied. Overall, chemotherapy is very effective in reducing what we call high burden disease, meaning it’s effective if somebody has a lot of cancer and they don’t have an appetite, they have low energy and we need to get the disease down fast, that’s where you go for chemotherapy. If you can tolerate it, usually it’s going to consist of a platinum drug, cisplatin or carboplatin, which we talk about the side effects elsewhere, but are mostly neuropathy in your hands and feet and bring down your bone marrow counts. If you have squamous cell carcinoma, the platinum will be combined with a taxol, some form of paclitaxel, which also causes neuropathy. Then you can also put on immune therapy. Adding immune therapy onto your cytotoxic chemotherapy provides for a much more effective response and maintenance to keep that tumor under control. And you can drop the cytotoxic chemo that usually has those classic side effects of cancer treatment.