Lung cancer results from any abnormality in the basic unit of life — the cell. Generally, our bodies have the ability to check various activities and growth patterns of cells. Cancer occurs when this system is damaged. This causes an abnormal growth pattern in the cells of the body which, in turn, leads to a tumor.
Drugs used for lung cancer treatment are:
1. Carboplatin: This drug was on the market in the late 1980’s and has very few side effects when compared to other drugs in the same group. It is used for the treatment of ovarian carcinoma and lung, head, and neck cancers. Side effects, including damage to the kidney, nausea, etc., are within controllable levels.
2. Cisplatin: This is a platinum-based drug used to cure the cancers of sarcomas, small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphomas, and germ cell tumors. The drug was the first member of the class of platinum based chemotherapy drugs. It acts by causing apoptosis of cells. Its side effects are more severe compared to other drugs and include nephrotoxicity or kidney damage, neurotoxicity or nerve damage, ototoxicity or hearing loss, and nausea and vomiting.
3. Docetaxel: This drug is well researched and established for anti-mitotic chemotherapy and marketed under the brand name Taxotere. Used mainly for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, breast, and ovarian cancer, docetaxel has FDA approval for use in relapsed cancer cases. It is considered to be a more effective drug than doxorubicin, fluorouracil, and paclitaxel. It is used in cancer treatment in cases where anthracycline-based chemotherapy has failed.
4. Etoposide: This cancer drug is marketed under the brand names Eposin, Vepesid, VP-16, and Etopophos. It inhibits an enzyme release necessary for DNA functioning. Cancer cells are less competent in repairing this damage as compared to normal cells. It is used mainly for treating Ewing's sarcoma, lymphoma, non-lymphocytic leukemia, lung cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, and testicular cancer.
5. Gemcitabine: It is marked under the brand name Gemzar and is a nucleoside analog. The drug is used for various types of cancer viz. non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, and breast cancer. It is being researched for use in esophageal cancers and various other tumor types and lymphomas. The common side effects of the drug include muscle pain, fever, headache, chills, fatigue, mild nausea, and vomiting.
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