Expert Video - What is chemotherapy? When is it needed?

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment for lung cancer that tries to eradicate the cancer cells. There are different types of chemotherapy drugs. They work by affecting the general process in which cells divide (or make copies of themselves during the normal cell growth cycle). Cancer cells tend to grow much faster than normal cells in the body, and this makes them more sensitive to chemotherapy than the other cells in the body. Chemotherapy is used for lung cancer in patients with advanced lung cancer (in cases which cannot be treated by surgery). It is also sometimes used after surgery in cases where there are risk factors of the cancer that increase the likelihood of it coming back again (“adjuvant” setting). Finally, chemotherapy can be used with someone who has locally advanced lung cancer and is given together with radiation to enhance the effect of the radiation. This can be done prior to another round of surgery.

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