Lung cancer is caused by the formation of tumors in the lungs due to abnormal growth of cancerous cells.
There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The main causes of these are as follows:
If the cancer is confined to the lungs, the symptoms are as follows:
Lung cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy. A single treatment, or a combination of treatments are usually used.
Surgery is an option for certain patients diagnosed with earlier stages of non-small cell lung cancer, and has high chances of success. Before removing parts of the lung there is always a patient’s eligibility (whether they have enough lung capacity) for the operation is determined. The different types of surgeries include:
For small cell lung cancer, surgery is rarely carried out.
Radiation therapy works by aiming high energy waves at the cancerous cells. This causes the cancer cells to die and though the healthy cells sustain some damage, they can repair themselves. The treatment takes place over the course of a few weeks, in short sessions of 5 days per week. Depending on the stage of your cancer and how far it has spread, a radiation therapy course is planned.
Radiation can be given before or after a surgery, as a main treatment in individuals who cannot have surgery, in combination with chemotherapy or as palliative care in late stage small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Additionally, in patients with small cell lung cancer, radiotherapy to the brain is often given to reduce the risk of the cancer metastasizing there. This is also known as prophylactic cranial irradiation.
Radiation can be given externally or internally which is known as Brachytherapy.
Uses anti-cancer drugs to kill or shrink the cancer causing cells and to prevent the spread of cancer to other areas of the body. Chemotherapy can be used before and after surgeries, in combination with radiation for patients that cannot undergo surgery and is also sometimes the central treatment for advanced stages. In small cell lung cancer, chemotherapy is a vital part of the treatment plan regardless of stage.
Immunotherapy works by helping/boosting your immune system to fight against cancer cells. This treatment can be used for both non-small and small cell lung cancer, and is also prescribed based on other factors of your illness.
Targeted therapy drugs, are as the name suggested more specific, i.e, they harm cancer cells and do not have any adverse effects on surrounding or other cells of our body. As of now, targeted therapy drugs are used in tandem with chemotherapy drugs.
Please bear in mind, that your medical history, your environment which includes family and friends, your lifestyle habits, genetics, the type and intensity of cancer you have, all play a role in deciding the course of your treatment. Many times a combination of treatments is recommended, and this may change through the duration of your illness. This is done so the doctor can ensure that you are getting the best possible treatment for your individual case.
We understand that before going through a major treatment like surgery or radiotherapy, you may be feeling unsure and want a second opinion, or you would like to look for the top oncologist specializing in lung cancer, or for a clinical trial doing cutting edge research. For support with any of these queries and question, Qunomedical is here for you 24/7.