Did you know that in the United States, lung cancer is the most common type of cancer death among both men and women? More individuals die from lung cancer each year than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. That’s why it’s so important to learn about the symptoms and treatment options for this deadly disease. In this blog post, we will discuss What is lung cancer, its symptoms, and how it is treated.
What Is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer begins when abnormal cells in the lung start to grow out of control. These abnormal cells can form a tumor, and the tumor can then spread to other parts of the body. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two common types of lung cancer.
Who Gets Lung Cancer?
The majority of lung cancer cases are found in individuals over the age of 65. The most typical age at diagnosis is 70 years old. However, 25% of all worldwide lung cancer diagnoses occur in nonsmokers.The exact cause of lung cancer in non-smokers is still unknown.
The most frequent cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking. Many individuals who come into contact with cigarette smoke – or parts of it – will develop permanent structural malfunctions in their lungs. These abnormalities may lead to the development of a malignant tumor within the lung. Men are diagnosed at an older age than women.
Types of Lung Cancer
Small cell and non-small cell lung cancer are the two common types of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer starts in the lining of the bronchi and can grow and spread quickly. Non-small cell lung cancer starts in the glands below the bronchi and grows more slowly.
Outer parts of the lungs can also develop lung cancer. Each sort of lung cancer develops and spreads in its own unique way. Small cell lung cancer is more aggressive and quickly expands.
Non-small cell lung cancer is less aggressive and grows more slowly. Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type of lung cancer, how advanced it is, and your overall health.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer is much more common than small cell lung cancer, and usually grows and spreads more slowly. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer, named for the type of cells from which cancer develops: Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of lung cancer that often starts growing near the periphery of the lung. It can vary in both size and growth rate. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer in both smokers and those who have never smoked. The cause of adenocarcinoma is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to genetic and environmental factors.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is malignant lung cancer that begins in one of the larger breathing tubes near the chest’s middle. These tumors can vary in size from microscopic to quite enormous. While squamous cell cancers may develop in any region of the lung, they are more typical in the upper lobes.
Large Cell Carcinoma
Large cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that typically starts near the periphery of the lung. It grows rapidly and is usually quite extensive when diagnosed. Large cell carcinoma is more aggressive than other types of lung cancer, and it is often resistant to chemotherapy.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small cell lung cancer is one of the most uncommon forms of lung cancer, affecting about 15% of all sufferers. This form of lung disease develops quickly and is likely to be advanced when it is discovered. Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive and deadly kind of illness with a limited treatment arsenal.
Rare Cancers of the Chest
Rare cancers of the chest include carcinoid tumors and malignant mesothelioma. Carcinoid tumors are often located in a large airway, and their symptoms can include wheezing and coughing. Carcinoid tumors vary in their degree of aggression, with some tumors having a very favorable long-term prognosis.
Malignant mesothelioma is cancer that develops from the pleura or lining of the lung. This is most common in individuals who had been exposed to asbestos many years ago, commonly in occupations involving insulation, brake linings, or furnaces. Smoking seems to be a compounding risk factor with asbestos for this tumor.
This type of cancer is particularly aggressive, and its symptoms can include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. While both of these types of cancer are rare, they both tend to progress slowly. Surgical management alone is usually sufficient for carcinoid. Malignant mesothelioma may be treated with a combination of aggressive surgery and chemotherapy.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer, as this disease can often be overlooked until advanced stages. Early symptoms include a cough that does not improve, hoarseness, and blood in phlegm or sputum that is expelled by coughing.
Other symptoms include weakness, wheezing, infections that return or will not clear, chest pain that gets worse with cough or laughing, and unexplained weight loss.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that the proper diagnosis can be made. Lung cancer is a serious disease, and early detection is essential for the best possible outcome.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Lung cancer is a tough disease to cure. Results of treatment are often described in terms of 5-year survival. The stage of the illness at diagnosis, cell type, and presence of symptoms are the most important variables in determining a patient’s chances of surviving. The best survival rate, 95% at 5 years, is found with localized carcinoid. Survival up to 80% is found with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Treatment, on the other hand, becomes increasingly difficult if cancer has spread to lymph nodes or to other organs.
Doctors must consider all pertinent information about each patient in order to offer the best possible care for lung cancer patients. This includes things such as the patient’s general health status, tumor type, and degree of spread. Only by considering all of these elements can doctors develop the most appropriate treatment for each individual patient.
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Lawrence Schmetterer, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a well-regarded cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon in Youngstown, Salem, and Warren, Ohio. He has spent over 34 years practicing medicine and sees patients at the Salem Regional Medical Center outpatient clinic and the Steward Medical Building at 20 Ohltown Road in Austintown.
Dr. Schmetterer is a well-known expert in the treatment of varicose veins, as well as other types of vein disease. He also specializes in thoracic, arterial, venous, and mediastinal illnesses.