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Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the lungs initially. It is a condition that causes cells to divide in the lungs uncontrollably that causes the growth of tumors that affects the person’s breathing process.

Majority of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Smoking seriously damages your lungs. Though the lungs can repair the damage, continued exposure to smoke makes it increasingly difficult. However, in some cases, there may be no obvious cause for lung cancer.

The most commonly occurring lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) occurs in about 15 to 20 percent of cases.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Identifying lung cancer in its earliest stages can be difficult because the symptoms may be similar to those of a respiratory infection, or there may be hardly any symptoms at all. However, the signs and symptoms to look out for are:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness in the throat
  • Losing weight without reason
  • Body pain
  • Unexplained headaches

How is lung cancer treated?

Diagnosis:

Certain tests are carried out to diagnose lung cancer. They are:

  • Imaging tests such as X-ray. MRI, CT, and PET scans. These scans help to find smaller details and lesions.
  • Sputum cytology- The sputum produced while coughing can be microscopically tested for the presence of cancer cells.

A biopsy can detect if the tumor or lesion cells are cancerous or not. The tissue sample for biopsy is collected by methods like mediastinoscopy, bronchoscopy or needle aspiration.

If the tissue sample tests positive for cancer, further testing is done to determine the stage of cancer and how far it has spread in the body.

If you’re diagnosed with lung cancer, you will be treated by a team of doctors who include:

  • a thoracic surgeon
  • a pulmonologist
  • a medical oncologist
  • a radiation specialist

Lung cancer treatment plans will vary person to person depending on the stage of cancer and specific health status of the person. However, a generalized treatment plan for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) would look like:

  • Stage 1 NSCLC: Surgery to remove a portion of the lung with sessions of chemotherapy, if you’re at high risk of recurrence.
  • Stage 2 NSCLC: Surgery to remove the lung partially or fully, with chemotherapy.
  • Stage 3 NSCLC: A combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment.
  • Stage 4 NSCLC: It is the advanced stage and difficult to cure. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

Some patients in advanced stages may choose not to opt for treatment. Palliative care treatments recommended for such cases, which are therapies focused on treating the symptoms of cancer.

Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage and hypnosis are some of the alternative therapies that could help cancer patients find relief from the after-effects of cancer.

To conclude

The success of lung cancer treatment depends upon the cancer type and the spread. Patients should get themselves treated by experienced lung cancer doctors who can provide an accurate prognosis, taking into account the individual's overall health and the extent of their cancer.

 

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