Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting American adults, after non-melanoma skin cancer. Most people diagnosed with lung cancer have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which tends to grow slowly and is generally more responsive to treatment. Smokers are commonly diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which is usually more aggressive. As lung cancer rates have increased, advances in medical technologies have helped people living with both types of lung cancer survive and thrive. If you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy (chemo) as an initial treatment. But for some people, chemotherapy ultimately fails and doesn’t work to kill cancer cells. If you’ve tried chemotherapy without success, you still have options. Talking with your doctor about your next steps can help put your mind at ease and solidify a plan to deal with lung cancer. Your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits of other cancer treatments while you decide which path to take. Treatments Beyond Chemotherapy It can be stressful when chemo stops working. But chemo is just one of many therapies available that can effectively treat your cancer. Tried-and-true treatment options, like surgery, may rid your body of lung cancer completely. And new lung cancer treatments, like immunotherapy, could help boost your body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Your doctor can help you determine which other types of treatments may be most effective for you. These treatments may include: Radiation therapy: Doctors use this type of treatment to deliver high doses of radiation directly to lung cancer cells. Your doctor may recommend radiation as a main treatment or as a secondary treatment before or after surgery. Additionally, radiation therapy may help if the cancer has spread outside the lungs. Surgery: Not all lung cancers can be managed surgically. However, this option may be appropriate if the lung cancer is in its earlier stages. During surgery, your doctor may remove all or a portion of your lung where the cancer is located. Targeted therapy: This new type of cancer treatment targets genes, proteins, or other substances inside cancer cells that help them grow and survive. Targeted therapy directs its focus on cancer cells specifically, so healthy cells aren’t affected. Your doctor may need to perform several diagnostic tests to determine whether this type of treatment could be right for you. Immunotherapy: Another new tool in the fight against cancer, immunotherapy after chemo may give you a good shot at recovery. This type of treatment helps your body’s own immune system become stronger and better able to manage cancer. Coping With Failed Chemotherapy Stopping chemo for lung cancer is a huge decision, and it can be difficult to make the choice to stop if chemo isn’t working. You may be shocked, angry, or frustrated at the cancer’s lack of response to the treatment. Because stopping chemo can be so upsetting, it’s important to find effective coping mechanisms that may help you feel better. You can help yourself stay upbeat by: Getting support: Family, friends, and support groups can all help you express your feelings. They also provide encouragement for the decisions you make about further treatment. Focusing on the positive: Staying hopeful and looking forward to activities and events in your daily life can really help to boost your mood. Enjoying your life: Try to keep your life as normal as possible throughout this time. Plan your daily activities like you usually would. Take time to enjoy moments with your family and friends, or while doing something you love. Not every lung cancer treatment is appropriate for every person. Speak with your doctor about your concerns after chemo and your goals for treatment moving forward so together, you can develop the best plan for you. Your doctor will discuss the benefits of each type of treatment, the side effects you may experience, and how effectively the treatment may manage lung cancer. Together with your treatment team, you can find the best treatment options for you, even if chemotherapy fails. There are always other options, so stay positive and keep looking for solutions.