The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Treatment Approaches

I have a question for anyone reading this. The way that lung cancer is treated seems to vary around the world and even in the UK. My husband has non small cell squamous lung cancer, stage 4. It has spread from his right lung to his scapula. He is having 6 rounds of chemotherapy (gemcetibine & carboplatin) every three weeks ie. Week 1 both, week 2 gem week three none then start again. He is also having radiotherapy for the growth on his scapula.

I have to say the doctors and nurses have been wonderful, quick to respond, supportive if we have concerns, really kind and professional. I don't have any doubts they are doing their best.

But my question is this, I read here about people who have had different approaches to treatment. Many have had operations, some talk about 50 plus rounds of radiotherapy. Is it the case that this cancer is treated more aggressively outside the UK?

I just want to understand what is the best treatment for my husband?

6 Replies

Hi Kates_cat sorry you both find yourself in this situation. I also have non small cell squamous lung cancer stage 3A I am in Scotland. My treatment (just finished at the end of September) was 4 weeks chemotherapy and radiotherapy together. I am not an expert. I believe that the treatment depends of the type of cancer and the stage when it is diagnosed. I think that surgery is an option if there is no spread of the cancer (mine is also in one of the lymph nodes near the primary tumour). The type of chemotherapy etc I think depends on various other things that are different for everyone for instance general health pre existing illnesses and so on. There may be others on this site who have more knowledge than me who could explain better. If you have any doubts about the best treatment plan for your husband then asking the oncologist if there are any other treatment options may be a good place to start. I wish you both well. Take care. Maggie

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i have the same cancer and treatment as your husband and we are also confused about treatments available. i will be having a scan this week to see if the first four cycles of chemo are having any effect and have written to my oncologist asking him to look into trials especially the matrix trial. I will be seeing him in about ten days so will let you know what he says. I would have to travel to be on the trial but it seems to be left to the individual to find out what they can and then ask questions. There seem to be gene tests and other tests that can influence treatment decisions but these don't seem to be done as a matter of course although maybe if we lived near a major cancer treatment centre that would be different?

I cope fairly well on GemCarbo just a few days weariness in the second week of the cycle. How is your husband coping with the treatment?

Keep me posted of any treatment options you are offered and I will do the same.

Best wishes to you both


Hi there

I have a different lung cancer to your husband but also remember hearing that people were having eg 30 sessions of radiotherapy. I was alarmed when I was then offered 20 sessions and presumed I wasn't being treated 'aggressively'. It transpired that they changed my treatment plan and I ended up having 30 sessions. The important thing I learnt was that it isn't the number of treatments that counts - it is the dosage (or Gys) that is delivered in each treatment. I had the same amount of radiation in the 30 sessions as I would have had in the 20 sessions. They decided however to do a smaller dose over a longer time period to reduce the risk of nerve damage.

I guess my point is that you may hear of people having 50+ treatments but it may just mean that they weren't well enough to have larger doses and therefore fewer treatments. Best to discuss it through with your husband's team - but hope the above helps.

Janey x


Thanks to everyone who has taken time to reply. Thanks for sharing your experiences, it really helps. I'll keep you updated on progress and treatment.

Kate x


Hello Kate

sorry you and your hubby have had to join the forum but I know you will get good support. As suggested above treatment regimes do vary because of a number of factors including stage and type of lung cancer and the person's general fitness.

In the UK we do have standards set for treatment which will guide the clinical team who are looking after your husband. Treatment is based on the evidence about what has the best impact and can be delivered in a safe, effective way for people. Janey's explanation about radiotherapy is a good example of how things can be adapted to offer the best for an individual.

We do have an information pack (2 booklets and a DVD) called Lung Cancer: Answering your Questions which we can send you free of charge if it might be of use to you.

best wishes with the treatment for your hubby,

Lorraine, Information & Support team

@Roy Castle

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Hello for Austin, Texas USA. My husband has non small cell squamous lung cancer diagnosed in May of 2015. He has just finished 6 rounds of chemo therapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel). He was in a clinical trial for a drug Veliparib but it is a blind study and we don't know if he actually received this drug or a placebo. He had a tumor in left lung, right lung and lymph system. The chemo resulted in the right tumor being gone and the left shrinking about 40%. It is still in his lymph system. He tolerated the chemo well except for neuropathy in his hands and feet and extreme fatigue. We will have CXT scans for the immediate future (don't know for how long) as long as he is not having any growth of the tumor or other symptoms. My husband cancer was discovered during a CT scan for bladder cancer and was caught very early we are told. I wish you good luck in your search. I continue to try and figure out what my husband's best treatment is but it is hard. We have excellent care through Texas Oncology and there is a medical hospital M. D. Anderson in Houston that treats cancer. From what I have found out, in the US carboplatin and paclitaxel are the two most used chemo drugs. This website has helped me in information but in also knowing that we are battling this along with many people and it does seem that no two people go down the same path. Best wishes, Dorcas


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