Lung cancer stems from an uncontrolled growth of cells in the lungs. This in turn leads to tumors and interferes with the functioning of the lungs. It causes problems with respiration and blood circulation and if untreated, the condition could be fatal.
There are two types of lung cancer: small cell lung carcinoma and non-small cell lung carcinoma. The treatment methods for the two types are different.
The top five lung cancer symptoms are:
1. Trouble breathing
2. Coughing up blood, including chest pain or cough
3. Recurring respiratory infections
4. Difficulty swallowing
5. Weight loss, fatigue, and loss of appetite
Lung cancer can be contained in the lungs or it can spread to adjacent tissue and may attack the nervous system. In such cases, there are chances of additional symptoms like blurred vision, seizures, loss of sensation in certain parts, tingling, and numbness.
Lung cancer diagnosis
In about 25% of cases, no lung cancer signs or symptoms are seen. If one suspects problems with respiration or breathing, it is important to consult a physician. The disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. If lung cancer diagnosis is done at an early stage, it can be cured. Diagnosis is confirmed with chest x-ray which can detect enlarged lymph nodes in the chest or a CT scan in case an abnormality is found in the chest x-ray and bronchoscopy for biopsy of the cells. MRI imaging is taken to check the possibility of cancer.
Lung cancer treatment
Lung cancer treatment includes surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have also proven successful in lung cancer treatment. During chemotherapy, medicines are used to destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy also helps in regulating and preventing the growth of cancer cells and is effective in the case of small cell lung cancer.
If a patient does not want to undergo surgery, they can opt for radiation therapy where radiation is used to destroy cancer cells. This therapy is applicable for both small cell lung carcinoma as well as non-small cell lung carcinoma. In specific cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is effective after surgery to prevent the re-growth of cancer cells. Lung cancer prognosis is poor; while early detection can completely cure a patient, advanced stages have a five to seven percent survival rate for two to five years.
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