Lung cancer is a disease that is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of cells in the tissues located in lungs. If not diagnosed at an early stage, it can spread beyond the lung into nearby tissues and eventually, in other parts of the body as well. It is vital to recognize the lung cancer symptoms at an early stage to reduce the complications involved in treatment of lung cancer. The most common symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, shortness of breath and weight loss. About 80-90% of lung cancer results from smoking. Long –term exposure to tobacco smoke often causes lung cancer. Non-smokers when exposed to air pollution, asbestos, secondhand smoke and radon gas often get trapped in lung cancer.
The lung cancer treatment depends on the specific cell type of lung cancer, spread of lung cancer and several other factors. The most common treatments are palliative care, surgery, and chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The condition of patients’ health is diagnosed by performing blood tests and pulmonary function testing. When the pulmonary function tests reveal poor respiratory reserve, surgery can be contraindicated.
Chemotherapy depends on the type of tumor whether it is small cell lung carcinoma and non-small cell carcinoma. SCLC is treated with chemotherapy and radiation. In NSCLC, chemotherapy works to improve survival and is used as a first-line treatment. The commonly used drugs include gemcitabine, docetaxel, etoposide or pemetrexed.
Radiotherapy may be used with curative intent with patients that suffer from NSCLC who are not eligible for surgery. This is called as radical radiotherapy.
Palliative care may be an appropriate option for patients with terminal disease. Chemotherapy may be combined with palliative care while providing treatment of the NSCLC. These approaches allow additional discussion of treatment options and aim at improving the quality of life.
Lung cancer treatment and survival depends on the stage of cancer, overall health and other factors. It is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women worldwide.