To a specific size, lung metastases cannot be detected by diagnostic examination. And their presence after treatment leads to tumor recurrence. The detection of metastases completely changes the approach to therapy. Surgical methods are considered the main ones with localized lung cancer, and radiotherapy and drug therapy are considered auxiliary. With metastatic lung cancer, the latter two treatments come to the fore. Drug therapy is the most appropriate at this stage of the disease; it has a systemic effect and affects all metastatic cells.
The German approach to lung cancer treatment in Germany
As mentioned above, surgical treatment is of secondary importance in metastatic lung cancer. It is used only for limited indications: for example, to remove single (less than three) metastases in the brain. Drug therapy becomes the central focus along with conventional chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. All of these methods are aimed primarily at slowing the growth of the neoplasm and prolonging the patient's life. In addition, as part of the complex therapy, remedies to help improve the quality of life can be recommended, including pain relievers, etc.
First-line drugs are prescribed if the patient has not previously received drug therapy. The treatment is provided for the required number of cycles or until unacceptable toxicity occurs. In the latter case, second-line drugs are recommended, etc. If necessary, radiation therapy may be prescribed.
Chemotherapy is still the primary method of treatment of lung cancer. Depending on the patient's condition, the doctor may recommend four to six courses of chemotherapy. In addition to drug therapy, radiation therapy is widely used for the treatment of metastatic lung cancer. Prophylactic irradiation is recommended to prevent the development of metastases in the brain. If sporadic metastases do occur in the CNS, stereotactic surgery is indicated if it is possible to perform. This type of radiation therapy, in which a directed beam of ionizing radiation acts as a scalpel to destroy a cluster of malignant cells. Radiation therapy may also be recommended to treat a single metastasis in the adrenal glands, bones, a recurrence in an area of the affected lung, or on the opposite side.
On the other hand, targeted therapy facilitates specific genetic changes that are typical for malignant cells and absent in healthy cells. Molecular genetic testing can detect and analyze such disorders. It is performed for patients with non-small cell and squamous cell cancers or when it is difficult to determine the tumor subtype in non-smoking young patients because of too little material.
Immunotherapy is also applied and aimed to activate anti-tumor immunity. Immunotherapy drugs block the receptors that allow cancer cells to "hide" from the immune system, after which the immune system recognizes them and begins to destroy them. Immunotherapy drugs can be combined with chemotherapy drugs if needed.
As mentioned, metastasis increases the likelihood of lung cancer recurrence. If a relapse is detected, the treatment tactics are chosen based on the individual characteristics of the course of the disease. If it is possible to remove a recurrent tumor surgically, surgery is performed. Otherwise, therapeutic methods are used for patients diagnosed with a recurrence.
How to go to Germany for metastatic lung cancer treatment during a lockdown?
The best treatment for metastatic lung cancer in Germany is carried out in specialized medical centers on an inpatient basis. Many people choose German medicine for its innovative approach to advanced lung cancer treatment. Of course, it became challenging to organize traveling during a lockdown, but there are ways to make the whole process easier.
Booking Health can organize lung cancer treatment in Germany for you. Using the services of the Booking Health company, you can pick a hospital among the best German hospitals, get a visa to enter Germany, get your medical documents translated, and receive the services of a personal interpreter if you need one.Feel free to check the list of hospitals that provide the best treatment for metastatic lung cancer in Germany on the Booking Health website.