MEDICAL SECOND OPINION

Lung Cancer

Diagnosis and Treatment of Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

The illness known as lung cancer begins in the lungs and has the potential to spread to other body organs. One of the most prevalent forms of cancer, it can affect both sexes. Even though it can be a severe condition, some treatments can assist in controlling the illness and enhance the quality of life.

You should be aware of the following essential facts regarding lung cancer:

What Causes Lung Cancer

The lungs' aberrant cell proliferation, which might eventually result in tumors, is what gives rise to lung cancer. Exposure to dangerous substances, such as radon gas, air pollution, and tobacco smoke, is the leading cause of lung cancer. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a substantially increased risk of acquiring lung cancer. Lung cancer risk can also be increased by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Asbestos, diesel exhaust, and other occupational pollutants, as well as a family history of lung cancer or specific genetic abnormalities, are other variables that can lead to the development of lung cancer.

Not all occurrences of lung cancer are brought on by these factors, and some cases may not be known to have a specific cause. Furthermore, exposure to these dangerous compounds can raise the risk of developing lung cancer, even though not everyone who has been exposed to them will. As a result, it's crucial to talk to a healthcare professional about any worries you may have regarding the risk factors and symptoms.

Lung Cancer Types

I can describe the many forms of lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two main subtypes of lung cancer. The most frequent type of lung cancer is NSCLC, which accounts for about 85% of cases, and SCLC for the remaining 15%.

• Adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and giant cell carcinoma are the three subtypes of NSCLC that are further divided based on the types of cells involved. Adenocarcinoma is the most prevalent subtype of NSCLC, accounting for around 40% of cases. About 25–30% of instances of cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, while 10%–15% are large cell carcinoma.

• On the other hand, SCLC is a more aggressive type of lung cancer that frequently spreads and grows. Due to its cell structure, it is sometimes referred to as oat cell cancer.

It's vital to keep in mind that each type of lung cancer may call for a different strategy for therapy, and a correct diagnosis is essential for figuring out the best course of action for each patient.

Symptoms

I can tell you that early-stage lung cancer may not usually present with obvious symptoms, making it challenging to identify.

However, some typical signs that lung cancer may be present include:

• Persistent cough: Lung cancer can be detected by a persistent cough that doesn't go away or worsens over time.

• Shortness of breath: Even with light exertion, feeling out of breath or having trouble breathing might be a sign of lung cancer.

• Chest discomfort: Lung cancer may be indicated by persistent chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.

• Unexplained weight loss: Lung cancer is one illness that can manifest as unexplained weight loss.

• Fatigue: Even after enough rest, feeling exhausted or weak may indicate lung cancer.

• Hoarseness: An untreated hoarse voice may indicate lung cancer.

• Blood in the Cough: Hemoptysis, also known as blood in the cough, indicates lung cancer.

It's crucial to keep in mind that other diseases besides lung cancer might also cause these symptoms. To find out the underlying cause and receive the proper care, you must talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Diagnosis

A study of the patient's medical history, a physical examination, imaging studies, and a biopsy are frequently used to diagnose lung cancer. Some of the most popular methods for diagnosing lung cancer include the following:

• Imaging examinations: Chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans are frequently employed to produce fine-grained images of the lungs and surrounding tissue to spot any abnormal growths.

• Sputum cytology is a test that involves examining a sample of sputum (lung mucus) under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

• Biopsy: A tissue sample from the lung is removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether cancer cells are present.

• Bronchoscopy: A small, illuminated tube is introduced via the mouth or nose and into the lungs to check the airways and gather tissue samples.

• Mediastinoscopy: A surgical technique in which a sample of the chest's lymph nodes is taken out and examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

• Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): This test uses ultrasound to provide images of the lungs and surrounding tissue to help guide a biopsy.

It is important to remember that successful lung cancer treatment depends on early identification. Thus, those at high risk for the disease should get regular screenings. Suppose you have a family history of lung cancer, a history of smoking, or exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, or other carcinogens. In that case, you should talk to your doctor about whether lung cancer screening is appropriate.

Treatment Options

Several treatment options are available for lung cancer, depending on the stage and kind of the tumor, the patient's general health, and personal preferences. As a medical oncologist, I am responsible for assisting patients in selecting the course of therapy that will result in the greatest possible outcome and quality of life.

Here are some of the most common treatment options for lung cancer:

• Surgery: For early-stage lung cancer, surgery is frequently the first course of treatment. It entails removing the lung tumor along with some surrounding tissue. For some people with early-stage cancer, surgery can be curative. For individuals with advanced-stage lung cancer, it is not a choice.

• Radiation therapy: High-energy X-rays are used in radiation therapy to eliminate cancer cells. It is frequently used either alone or in conjunction with other treatments to treat early-stage lung cancer. It can also ease the signs and symptoms of cancer that have already progressed.

• Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses chemicals to eradicate cancer cells. It can be given intravenously or orally. When treating lung cancer, chemotherapy is frequently combined with other therapies like surgery and radiation therapy. It can be used to treat advanced-stage cancer, decrease tumors before surgery, and eliminate any cancer cells that may linger after surgery.

• Targeted therapy: A more recent cancer treatment, targeted therapy focuses on specific genetic alterations in cancer cells. Patients with advanced-stage lung cancer frequently utilize it. Orally administered targeted therapy may have fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy.

• Immunotherapy: This cancer treatment enhances the immune system's ability to combat cancer. It can be given intravenously to treat advanced lung cancer either alone or in conjunction with other therapies. The adverse effects of immunotherapy may be less severe than conventional chemotherapy.

• Clinical trials: These research projects test brand-new lung cancer medicines. They may be able to give patients access to cutting-edge therapies that are yet unavailable to the broader population.

As a medical oncologist, my staff and I work closely with patients to ensure they know their treatment options and can make educated choices about their care. We treat each patient individually, considering their particular requirements and preferences to develop an effective treatment plan. Because of advancements in cancer research and therapy, we are hopeful about the future of lung cancer care and the possibility of better outcomes and quality of life for our patients.

Prevention

As a medical oncologist, prevention is crucial in treating lung cancer. Here are some methods to lower your chance of getting lung cancer:

• Give up smoking: Since smoking is the main contributor to lung cancer, giving up is the most effective lung cancer prevention strategy. Quitting smoking can still lower your risk, even if you have been a smoker for a long time.

• Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke: If you don't smoke, limit your exposure to secondhand smoke.

• Radon is a radioactive gas that can raise the risk of lung cancer. Check your home for it. You can lessen your risk by testing your home radon and taking action to lower radon levels if they are high.

• Avoid being exposed to carcinogens: Lung cancer risk is increased by exposure to certain substances, such as asbestos. Follow safety precautions and use protective gear if you operate in an environment where you might be exposed to carcinogens.

• Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a diet high in fresh produce and low in saturated fats may help lower your risk of developing lung cancer.

It's crucial to remember that while these tactics can lower your risk of getting lung cancer, they cannot ensure that you won't ever have the illness. Your doctor might advise routine screening tests if you have a high chance of developing lung cancer to find the disease early on when it is easier to treat.

Medicana Health Group provides various services, such as diagnostic testing, treatment planning, and supportive care, to manage lung cancer. Our medical oncologists are committed to giving each patient the best possible care. We are here to support you if you or a loved one has received a lung cancer diagnosis. Contact us by phone at +90 850 4601010 or by email at [email protected].

Created at 15.06.2024 04:04
Updated at 15.06.2024 04:04
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