Lung cancer

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Treatments for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to create a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is a standard treatment for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer for people who are well enough to have surgery.

Lobectomy to remove the lobe of the lung is the main type of surgery for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer. It offers the best chance that the cancer will be completely removed.

Wedge or segmental resection is used to remove the tumour along with a margin of healthy lung tissue. This type of surgery may be offered for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer in people who do not have very good lung function.

Sleeve resection is used to remove a tumour in the large airway (bronchus) of the lung.

Extended pulmonary resection and a chest wall resection may be done for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer that has spread to the chest wall or other tissues around the lung.

During surgery for non–small cell lung cancer, the lymph nodes in the chest and around the lungs are removed. If there is cancer in more lymph nodes than shown with diagnostic tests, the surgery may be stopped. This is done because the cancer has spread too far for surgery to be helpful as a treatment.

Surgery may be done again if the lab reports that cancer is found in the margins (positive margins) of the tissue that was removed.

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy is offered for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer in people who are not well enough to have surgery or who choose not to have surgery. Radiation therapy may be given after surgery if there were positive margins in the tissue that was removed and surgery can’t be done again.

Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) may be offered to people with lung cancer that has not spread outside the lung.

Hypofractionated radiation treatments may be offered to people who are not able to have SBRT.

3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT) or intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may be offered to people who cannot tolerate the dose of radiation given during SBRT or hypofractionated treatments.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be offered after surgery for stage 2 non–small cell lung cancer that has spread to the bronchial lymph nodes in people who are healthy enough to have chemotherapy. Your healthcare team will discuss the benefits and risks of chemotherapy with you.

The most common chemotherapy drug combination used is cisplatin and vinorelbine (Navelbine). If a person cannot be given cisplatin because of poor health, carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ) may be given instead.

Chemoradiation

Chemoradiation may be offered as a treatment to people with non–small cell lung cancer who can’t have surgery and have a tumour 5 cm or larger or have cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.

Clinical trials

You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for non–small cell lung cancer. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

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