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Cartersville Medical Center

Other Treatments for Lung Cancer

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses lasers and a chemical absorbed by the body. The chemical (called hematoporphyrin) is given by an injection into your vein and is absorbed by the cancer cells. An infrared light source is then aimed at the cancer, and the cells that have absorbed the chemical undergo a reaction and start to die.

Photodynamic therapy is often used to decrease symptoms, rather than cure cancer. It may help control bleeding or breathing problems. This technique can be very effective, but it is not considered a standard option like surgerychemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Photodynamic therapy is only offered at some medical centers around the country. It is best used when there is not much cancer to be killed; the chemical is absorbed less than ¼ inch into the tumor, so a big tumor will not be affected by this method.

Photodynamic therapy will make your skin and eyes more sensitive than normal to light for at least 6 weeks. Avoid the sun. If you must go outside, wear sunglasses and protective clothing. When indoors, avoid bright indoor lighting.

Intraoperative Brachytherapy

When a tumor extends into a bronchus, radiation therapy may be delivered directly to the tumor by means of brachytherapy. In this situation, a small tube is inserted down the bronchus, and a radioactive source is placed near the tumor site. This procedure can be used to deliver higher doses to a small area. It is also useful in helping to control bleeding from a tumor that has grown into a bronchus.

YAG Laser

The YAG laser is a special light source that can be used by the doctor (usually a pulmonologist or surgeon) to core out an area where cancer is located and is blocking your airway. The YAG laser may be appropriate when there is a tumor in the airway preventing air from passing through. This treatment is also used when radiation or surgery cannot be given.


Stents are mesh devices that keep an airway open. The doctor will insert the stent into your airway through a bronchoscope and then open it up. The stent is designed to hold the airway open from the inside when the tumor is otherwise trying to close it down. The stent only serves as a meshwork lattice and cannot keep the tumor from ultimately growing through. It is usually used as a temporary solution; other treatments may be necessary along with it.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Contact your doctor if you:

  • Develop side effects from the treatment
  • Develop new or unusual symptoms
  • Notice your skin is red, blistered, or swollen
  • Develop swelling in your neck or arms
  • Develop fever, soreness, or bleeding
  • Develop a cough or cough up blood

Revision Information

  • Lung cancer (non-small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Learn about cancer (small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Lung cancer. American Lung Association website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Lung cancer—for patients. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.