What is Lung Cancer ?
Abnormal cells grow inside the lungs in the form of a tumor or produce a fluid. This leads to cancer. These cells grow at a rapid rate affecting his health and costing his life. A lung cancer could be primary or secondary cancer. A secondary cancer is caused due to metastasis. It is a phenomenon where the cancer starts at a primary site and spreads into other organs of the body. A metastatic lung cancer usually starts in the brain, bones, adrenal glands and liver. Lung cancer is caused in the tissue of one of the lungs or in both of the lungs.
Types of lung cancers :
- Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
- Non-Small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Non small cells lung cancer (NSCLC) :
- Squamous carcinoma
- Large cell carcinoma
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) :
Small cell lung cancers have a tendency to grow rapidly and show symptoms earlier than SLC. The treatment procedures hence differ for both of these diseases.
Signs and symptoms :
Lung cancers like any other cancer does not show when it is in early stages. 40% of the lung cancers get diagnosed when the patient is in advance stage of cancer. 1/3 of the lung cancer patients get it diagnosed when they are in stage 3. Being observant about the changes in your body and bringing it to your physician’s notice may help you diagnose the disease.
Symptoms of lung cancer that are in the chest :
- Persistent or intense cough
- Pain in the chest and shoulder
- A change in colour or volume of sputum shortness of breath
- A change in the voice
- Bronchitis or pneumonia
- Coughing up phlegm or mucus tinged with blood
- Presence of blood in the cough
Symptoms of lung cancer that may occur elsewhere in the body :
- Loss of appetite
- weight loss
- Muscle wasting
- Pain in the bones and the joints
- Bone fractures unrelated to any injury
- Swelling in the neck or the face
- Blood clots
Causes and risk factors :
Smoking causes most of the lung cancers. Even passive smokers can get affected. If a non smoker or a person who has never been exposed to smoke is affected then the cause of the lung cancer cannot be known.
Risk factors :
Age : People above 65 are more prone to get lung cancer.
Family history : A sibling of the patient or his biological parents has had lung cancer or already been diagnosed with it is more susceptible to have lung cancer. Genetics can play havoc by carrying the same disease to blood relations.
- Active and Passive smoking causes lung cancer.
- Carcinogenic chemicals in the workplace such as asbestos can increase lung cancer risk.
- Exposure radioactive gas radon is also a risk for lung cancer.
Preparing for your appointment :
If your physician suspects the symptoms to be related to cancer he will refer you to one of the following specialists-
- Oncologists- One who is specialised to treat cancer.
- Pulmonologists- One who diagnoses and treats lung cancer or lungs diseases.
- Thoracic surgeons: One who operates the lungs
What can you do :
Appointments are mostly brief and hence by preparing yourself prior appointment can answer all your queries and saves your regret of not clearing your doubts-
- Pre appointment restrictions
- Make a note of your symptoms
- Make a note of your medications
- Clear any of your doubts.
- Answer your doctor’s doubts as it will help him in understanding your disease better.
Tests and diagnosis :
There are many methods that will help in the diagnosis of lung cancer. They include-
Blood tests : Diagnoses general health and the extent of cancer
Bone scan : A radioactive material that has been sent through vein will show the affected areas of the bones or any inflammation.
Bronchoscopy : A small tissue from the inside of your lungs is removed and is studied under a microscope. Or through this procedure the doctors can also take pictures and analyse the extremities of the disease.
Chest X-ray : Inflammation, infection, scarring or growths can be found out with the help of an X-ray.
CT scan (Computerized Tomography) : It clicks 3D pictures that shows affected lymphatic nodes and the extent of the disease.
Endo Bronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) : With the help of an ultrasound scan the doc takes samples from the glands in the chest.
Lung function tests : They are conducted to study the health or any medical condition o f the lungs that may not be suitable for other procedures such as radiation or for surgery.
Lung Perfusion scan : A radioactive substance is sent through your vein in your hands or arms which highlights the presence of protein enabling them to take pictures of the lungs or the chest.
MediastinoscoIt : This procedure is adapted to view lymph nodes under the breastbone. It does leave a scar.
MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) : It uses magnetic waves to take 3D pictures of your body
PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) : A PET scan procedure is used prior to lung cancer surgery or radiotherapy. This method is adopted over CT scan because of its accuracy. It gives a clear picture of the cancerous area.
Ultrasound : This procedure is painless. It uses sound waves to click images of the insides of your body. It’s mostly used to detect the fluid in the lung.
The treatment or the procedures used to treat lung cancer patients depends on various factors such as:
- The type of lung cancer
- The size and position of the cancerous area
- The stage of the disease
- General health
There are five basic ways to treat non-small cell lung cancer :
- Targeted therapy
A surgical oncologist is a specialist who uses surgery to remove the tumor. A thoracic surgeon removes the cancerous part of the lung and the nearby lymph node leaving a margin of a healthy tissue.
Types of surgery :
Lobectomy : There are five lobes in the lung, three in the right and two on the left. The removal of lobes when the tumor is small is found to be the nost effective way to treat lung cancer.
A wedge resection : This method is adopted when he cannot remove the entire lobe in the lung. Instead he removes the tumor making sure that the margin of the area removed is lined by a healthy lung tissue.
Segmentectomy : This is method too is adopted when the entire lobe of the lung cannot be removed. Instead he removes a portion of the lung where the tumor has developed.
Pneumonectomy : This surgical procedure is used when the tumor is centred in the chest in which case the entire lung has to be removed.
Radiation therapy : Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to destroy cells. These beams are focused on the cancerous area. There are chances that it kills the healthy cells that come across that beam. Hence this procedure is not used when the tumor is large.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a procedure where the patient is adviced to use of drugs for specific number of cycles. These drugs kill the cancerous cells and prevent cancer from growing further.
The phase when the patient is suffering from cancer can affect him physically, emotionally and financially as well. At K.I.M.S you not only get professional help but also you get assistance from their support groups who will give you individual attention and guide you through your crisis which includes counselling, financial assistance and practical help.
Quit smoking : Quitting smoking not only helps you but also all those passive smokers who suffer from lung cancer because of your addiction to smoking.
Diet : A diet with low fat and high fibre diet which includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains can prevent one from getting lung cancer and various other diseases.
Exercise : A regular exercise routine can cure many diseases miraculously. Follow it and see the results.
Why choose KIMS ?
KIMS is the only Hospital in Hyderabad considered as one of the best cancer hospitals in Hyderabad for the treatment of lung cancers. The best Lung cancer specialists of Hyderabad offer a wide range of treatments like cancer radiation therapy, best lung cancer chemotherapy treatment to address lung cancers in critical stages.