Lung cancer is the cancer that starts in the lungs and spread to other parts of the body. It is the most common cause of death due to cancers. Cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products regularly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Passive smoking (inhaling tobacco smoke from other smokers) and prolonged exposure to other harmful smoke such as fumes from the vehicle exhaust and factories can also lead to lung cancer. Lung cancer is broadly classified as non-small cell lung cancer and small-cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type which constitutes to 80-85% of all lung cancer cases.
Signs and symptoms
You may not observe any symptoms during the early stages of lung cancer. However, you may experience the following signs and symptoms as the disease gets advanced:
- Persistent cough with chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent pain in your chest
- Unusual tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Onset of wheezing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent chest infections
If you experience the symptoms of lung cancer, you must consult a doctor. The doctor would recommend a series tests to diagnose lung cancer.
Complete blood picture is done to detect conditions such as anemia and infection which may be contributing to the symptoms of the patient.
Sputum sample is collected and then sent in the laboratory for examination. Presence of cancer cells in the sputum sample indicates lung cancer.
X-ray images help in identifying the abnormal growth in your lungs. However, very small tumors may not be visible on a chest X-ray.
Computed tomography (CT) scan provides a detailed cross-sectional image of the lungs and helps in identifying smaller tumors in the lungs. Before a CT scan, a special iodine dye is injected into your vein, which helps to obtain a clear, well defined image of the lungs.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used to detect the spread of cancer cells to lymph nodes and to other parts of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and sound waves to produce detailed images of the lung. This is a sensitive test to detect lung tumor and assess its spread to the spinal cord and brain.
In this procedure, an ultrasound transducer, which is fitted to a bronchoscope and is passed into the windpipe. This enables to view the area between the lungs (mediastinum) and helps in identifying the enlarged lymph nodes.
The doctor would recommend for biopsy test if a tumor is detected on an X-ray or CT scan. A small tissue from the tumor is taken and is examined to confirm the lung cancer. This sample tissue can be collected during the procedures such as bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy or thoracoscopy.
In some cases, a fluid (pleural effusion) in built up around your lungs. A hollow needle is inserted between the lungs and chest wall to drain the fluid. The collected fluid sample is tested for malignant tumor cells.
The treatment of lung cancer depends on the type, stage and the advancement of the disease condition. Your doctor will choose the preferred treatment plan based on the stage of your cancer. The following are the available treatment options for lung cancer:
Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation to destroy the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy utilizes anti-cancer drugs (cytotoxic drugs) which are injected into the bloodstream through a catheter (intravenously). These act by either shrinking the tumor, by stopping the spread of tumor or by destroying tumor cells. Sometimes, chemotherapy may also be used to relieve the symptoms of advanced cancer.
The surgery involves the removal of cancerous growth through a surgical procedure. The following are the types of surgery to remove lung cancer:
- Lobectomy – Removal of the entire lobe of one lung.
- A wedge resection – Removal of a tumor that is surrounded along with a margin of healthy lung tissue.
- Segmental resection (segmentectomy) – Removal of a major section of a lung where the entire lobe cannot be removed.
- Pneumonectomy – Removal of the entire lung
- Quit smoking to avoid the major risk of developing lung cancer.
- Take measures to limit exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens at the workplace.
- Lifestyle measures such as regular exercise and healthy diet can reduce the risk of lung cancer.
- Limiting the consumption of alcohol can also lower the risk of developing lung cancer.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
For appointments, please call 4444 2424.
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