Chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer

Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells by disrupting their growth. Small cell lung cancers often respond well to chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy treatment may improve symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing, coughing up blood and chest pain.

There are two ways chemotherapy may be given to you:

  • by injection into a vein (intravenously)
  • by taking tablets.

You may receive chemotherapy at the hospital or you may be given tablets to take at home. Chemotherapy may be given over a few days followed by a rest period. This is known as a cycle of treatment.

There are many different drugs and combinations of drugs that may be used to treat small cell lung cancer. Common drugs used include:

  • cisplatin
  • carboplatin
  • etoposide.

There may be newer treatments available as part of clinical trials. Ask your doctor if these may be an option for you.