Lung Cancer Defined
Lung Cancer develops from the growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs, which can interfere with lung function or form tumors.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are two main types of Lung Cancer: Small Cell Lung Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Small Cell Lung Cancer: Small Cell Lung Cancer accounts for a small percentage of lung cancers. Small Cell Lung Cancer grows and spreads more quickly to other parts of the body sooner than Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer is the most common type of Lung Cancer and can be comprised of one of the following types of tumors:
- Squamous cell carcinoma/Epidermoid carcinoma
- Large cell carcinoma
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, Lung Cancer often does not cause symptoms in the very early stages. Symptoms of Lung Cancer include, but are definitely not limited to:
- Shortness of breath
- A lingering cough
- Changes in a chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Bone pain
- Fluid in chest
Stages of Lung Cancer
The stages of Lung Cancer differ for Small Cell Lung Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer to describe the severity of the cancer.
- Stages of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
- Stage I: The cancer is only located in the lung(s) and has not spread to lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer is located in the lung(s) and nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IIIA: The cancer is located in the lung(s) and the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest on the same side of the chest where the cancer started.
- Stage IIIB: The cancer is located in the lung(s) and the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest on the opposite side of the chest where the cancer started, or above the collarbone.
- Stages of Small Cell Lung Cancer
- Limited Stage: The cancer is located on one side of the chest in part of one lung and the nearby lymph nodes.
- Extensive Stage: The cancer has spread to other parts of the chest or body.
Please note that the content contained herein was not prepared by medical professionals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please address all medical questions, concerns, and symptoms with your doctor.
Diagnosing Lung Cancer
The best way to ascertain appropriate treatment is through quick diagnosis of the disease. Survival time relies on rapid diagnosis and immediate treatment.
There are various forms of tests available to screen for Lung Cancer. They include, but may not be limited to the following:
- Sputum Cytology: A Sputum Cytology is where the sputum (mucus) coughed up is analyzed under a microscope to look for lung cancer cells.
- X-Ray: An X-ray is an image of the lungs that could show an abnormal mass or nodule.
- CT Scan: A CT Scan allows doctors to see small lesions in the lungs that may not be visible on an X-ray.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure where a doctor will remove a sample of tissue or fluid from the body that is then examined under a microscope to see if it is cancerous. In the case of Lung Cancer, a biopsy can be performed via a bronchoscopy, a mediastinoscopy, or a needle biopsy.
Survival of Lung Cancer requires diligence on both the part of the patient and the doctor. Make sure your doctor knows if you were exposed to asbestos, get checkups regularly, and know the symptoms of Lung Cancer.
Obtaining Treatment for Lung Cancer
Determining the right therapies for you or your loved one takes time you do not have. You want the best treatment available, but finding it can seem daunting. Deciding on the best course of action is important.
We understand that your time is too valuable to spend hours on research. Therefore, we have compiled a list of cancer centers for your convenience. These centers are designated by the National Cancer Institute as Comprehensive Cancer Centers and are recognized for scientific excellence and extensive resources. This list will provide a good starting point for you to find treatment facilities in your area.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options
Once you or your loved one is diagnosed with Lung Cancer, researching to determine your course of action is time sensitive. You must quickly learn about this disease from a specialist and your doctor will run tests to learn how extensive the disease is and will designate a cancer stage based upon the test results. At that point, your medical team will discuss treatment options with you.
Lung Cancer treatment is dependent upon several factors, including:
- Your cancer stage
- Whether or not it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs
- Your health and personal preferences
The cancer stage is an important aspect in deciding on the level and type of treatment. This is something you will want to discuss with your doctors so you have a good understanding of it.
According to the American Cancer Society, surgery has a higher likelihood of long-term benefits in earlier stages, particularly stage I. If your Lung Cancer has progressed to cover an extensive part of your body, or you cannot tolerate an operation, then there are conventional treatment options, such as chemotherapy, that may slow the cancer growth, but will not result in a cure. Clinical trials may also be an option, and should be discussed with your doctor and family.
Regardless of the stage or level of your diagnosis, you should discuss with your doctors alleviating symptoms and pain management as part of your overall care. There are various options to consider, including:
- Radiation therapy
- Pain-relieving drugs
- Natural remedies
As mentioned, various treatments are available for Lung Cancer. Here are some options:
- Surgery: Surgery to remove the tumor is an option.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is where drugs are given through a vein or taken orally to kill cancer cells. A cocktail of drugs is usually administered in a series of treatments over weeks or months. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other forms of treatment.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation Therapy is where high-powered radiation is used to kill cancer cells. Radiation Therapy is often used in combination with other forms of treatment.