Lung cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer and the leading cause of causalities globally. What makes lung cancer more dreaded than its counterparts is its deplorable prognosis. The medical condition is difficult to diagnose in the earlier stages and it reaches criticality by the time the doctor can identify it. Though lung cancer affects people of all age groups, it is more common in elderly. According WHO study, 70% of lung cancer cases involve patients aged 65 years or above, while the rate of lung cancer patients is just 3% in the population aged 45 years or below. Smoking is the prime reason for lung cancer followed by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres, radon gas and air pollution.Many conditions mimic lung cancer like – Tuberculosis, Sarcoidosis, fungal infection.
On basis of size and appearance, Oncologists classify lung cancer into two broad categories – Small Cell Lung Cancers (SCLC) and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers (NSCLC). As the types vary in the cause and impact, the lung cancer treatment options also vary. As such, knowing the difference between them becomes imperative.
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):
This type of lung cancer is most lethal for its ability to grow and spread aggressively to other body organs without being detected. Smokers are the primary candidates of SCLC.
Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC):
NSCLC is the most prominent lung cancer, accounting for over 80 percent of cases globally. NSCLC can be further subcategorized as Adenocarcinomas, Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinomas and large cell carcinomas.
Symptoms of lung cancer may vary as per the severity of a tumour. Usually, patients do not show any sign of lung cancer in the initial stages. Even when subjected to routine chest X-ray or CT scan, a tumour appears to be a small coin-like object that does not cause any discomfort to the patient. However, as the tumour assumes size, the patient may experience breathing trouble, persistent cough, wheezing and mild to severe chest pain. The patient may also cough up blood.
If a tumour has spread to nerves, the patient may experience acute shoulder pain or change in voice. If a tumour reaches the brain, the patient may have several neurologic symptoms, such as blurred vision, headaches, weakness or seizures. The other non-specific symptoms include excessive weight loss, fatigue, depression and mood swings. Read more
Lung Cancer can be treated in different ways based on the his histological and molecular types. Unfortunately 90% of lung cancer are detected in advanced stages.
It is the operation where the surgeon will take out the cancer tissues and remove it. It gives best results in early stage NSCLC.
With the help of the special medication, the cancer cells will shrink and it will kill the cancer cells.
With the help of the drug, the doctors will block the growth and spreading of the cancer cells to the other parts. The drugs are generally in the form of pills. Targeted Therapy will depends on molecular studies/NGS etc.
With the high energy rays, the doctors will help in killing the cancer cells with this radiation therapy. It may be used also for bony metastasis ,Brain metastasis.
Here, Doctors from different specializations work together to treat lung cancer. One who is expert in treating lung cancer is called pulmonologists, and another specialist like a thoracic surgeon with the specialization for chest, surgery also analyzes the patients for the right treatment.
So choose the right doctor, right institution where all facilities exist under one roof.