May 29th, 2021

LIMA

Lung Cancer

Also called: Bronchogenic carcinoma

Summary

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

There are two main types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These two types grow differently and are treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common type.

Who is at risk for lung cancer?

Lung cancer can affect anyone, but there are certain factors that raise your risk of getting it:


  • Smoking. This is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking causes about 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men and about 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in women. The earlier in life you start smoking, the longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your risk of lung cancer. The risk is also greater if you smoke a lot and drink alcohol every day or take beta carotene supplements. If you have quit smoking, your risk will be lower than if you had kept smoking. But you will still have a higher risk than people who never smoked.

  • Secondhand smoke, which is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke breathed out by a smoker. When you inhale it, you are exposed to the same cancer-causing agents as smokers, although in smaller amounts.

  • Family history of lung cancer

  • Being exposed to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, beryllium, nickel, soot, or tar in the workplace

  • Being exposed to radiation, such as from

  • HIV infection

  • Air pollution






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Treatments and Therapies










Living With







What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Sometimes lung cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms. It may be found during a chest x-ray done for another condition.

If you do have symptoms, they may include

Chest pain or discomfort
A cough that doesn't go away or gets worse over time
Trouble breathing
Wheezing
Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs)
Hoarseness
Loss of appetite
Weight loss for no known reason
Fatigue
Trouble swallowing
Swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck
How is lung cancer diagnosed?
To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

Will ask about your medical history and family history
Will do a physical exam
Will probably do imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or chest CT scan
May do lab tests, including tests of your blood and sputum
May do a biopsy of the lung
If you do have lung cancer, your provider will do other tests to find out how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This is called staging. Knowing the type and stage of lung cancer you have helps your provider decide what kind of treatment you need.

What are the treatments for lung cancer?
For most patients with lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer.

Your treatment will depend on which type of lung cancer you have, how far it has spread, your overall health, and other factors. You may get more than one type of treatment.

The treatments for small cell lung cancer include

Surgery
Chemotherapy
Radiation therapy
Immunotherapy
Laser therapy, which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells
Endoscopic stent placement. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to look at tissues inside the body. It may be used to put in a device called a stent. The stent helps to open an airway that has been blocked by abnormal tissue.
The treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include

Surgery
Radiation therapy
Chemotherapy
Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
Immunotherapy
Laser therapy
Photodynamic therapy (PDT), which uses a medicine and a certain type of laser light to kill cancer cells
Cryosurgery, which uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
Electrocautery, a treatment that uses a probe or needle heated by an electric current to destroy abnormal tissue
Can lung cancer be prevented?
Avoiding the risk factors may help to prevent lung cancer:

Quitting smoking. If you don't smoke, don't start.
Lower your exposure to hazardous substances at work
Lower your exposure to radon. Radon tests can show whether your home has high levels of radon. You can buy a test kit yourself or hire a professional to do the test.
NIH: National Cancer Institute


General Information about Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

General Information about Small Cell Lung Cancer From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

What Is Lung Cancer? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Diagnosis and Tests
Bronchoscopy and Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
CEA Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
Chest CT Scan From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Chest X-Ray From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Lung Cancer Screening From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
Lung Cancer Tumor Markers From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
Needle Biopsy of the Lung(American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)
PDL1 (Immunotherapy) Tests From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
Stages of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
Stages of Small Cell Lung Cancer From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
Staging of Lung Cancer (American Thoracic Society) - PDF
Tumor Marker Tests From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
What is Bronchoscopy? From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

What Screening Tests Are There? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)