Five Things You Should Know About Pancoast Tumor Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common form of Pancoast tumor treatment. If your oncologist has recommended chemotherapy, or chemo, as a part of your treatment plan, you may have several questions about what to expect. The following information can help you better understand chemo as a treatment option and determine whether it’s right for you.

Chemotherapy information for patients

  1. Chemotherapy works by destroying rapidly dividing cells. Because Pancoast tumor cells reproduce quickly, chemotherapy is one way to destroy them. However, there are several types of healthy cells that also reproduce quickly. Chemo medications cannot differentiate between cancerous cells and healthy ones, which means that some healthy cells may become damaged during treatment. However, they are likely to regenerate after treatment is complete.
  2. Your treatment will likely last for several weeks. Chemotherapy is administered in cycles. For several days (or weeks), you’ll receive your chemotherapy medications, then take a short break to allow your body to recover.
  3. Chemotherapy can be given in several forms. Some medications are taken by mouth, while others are infused intravenously (injected into a vein). Depending on your specific prescription, you may have your treatment at home, at an infusion center or in a hospital.
  4. Your prescription might include more than one medication. Several different drugs can be used for Pancoast tumor treatment. It’s possible that your medical oncologist (an oncologist who specializes in chemotherapy) will recommend a combination of medications rather than just one. This recommendation will be influenced by the genetic makeup of your tumor, your age and other individual factors.
  5. Your treatment plan may change. If your tumor isn’t shrinking or you start to experience major side effects, your treatment may be adjusted. Depending on your situation, your medical oncologist might lower the dose of your current medication, prescribe additional medications or recommend a different prescription entirely. He or she will monitor you closely throughout treatment to determine if any changes are necessary.

Pancoast tumor chemotherapy at Moffitt Cancer Center

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we can answer any questions you might have about Pancoast tumor treatment. Our Thoracic Oncology Program is home to several highly experienced medical oncologists who specialize in chemotherapy for Pancoast tumors. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3888 or submit a new patient registration form online.