Lung cancer is a widespread type of cancer. As it has a low suspicion index, most patients come in advanced stages to the doctor. It is essential to contact your doctor if you see any symptoms of lung cancer.
In this article, Dr. Sandeep Nayak, one of the best oncologists in India, talks about lung cancer, its stages, and its treatment.
What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer develops in the lungs when cell division and growth are interrupted, making the cells grow abnormally and uncontrollably. These cells grow into a tumor.
The tumors can be cancerous or non-cancerous. If these tumors spread to another part of the body, they are considered cancerous.
Lung cancer can be treated with treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, stem cell therapy, etc.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak is one of the best oncologists in India, with over 20 years of experience. He is an expert in this field and has successfully treated many patients.
Lung cancer does not usually generate symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms do appear, they may include the following:
- Cough that is lingering or getting worse
- Coughing blood
- Shortness of breath
- Back pain
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough, laugh, or deeply breathe
- Weight loss and losing your appetite
Not everyone with advanced lung cancer will have every symptom. The symptoms may include:
- Tumors in the collarbone or neck
- Pain in bones in the body parts like ribs, hips, back
- Issues with balance
- Arms and legs getting numb
- Shoulder pain
- Swelling to your face and upper body
Lung cancer may affect anybody; however, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes lung tissue damage from the very first time you smoke. As your lungs’ cells are damaged, they begin to behave strangely. This might raise your chances of developing lung cancer.
When you stop smoking, your lungs start to heal themselves, decreasing your risk of lung cancer. Breathing in harmful compounds can also raise the chance of developing lung cancer.
Types of Lung Cancer
Doctors categorize lung cancer into two major types based on the appearance of cancer cells under the microscope.
You will plan the treatment according to what type of cancer you have.
The two types of lung cancer include:
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
It mainly occurs in people who smoke heavily, and it is less common than non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
It is a term used broadly for different types of lung cancers. They include adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
The stages of cancer describe how far cancer has spread in the body and how severe it is. Staging will help your doctor determine the course of treatment.
The basic form of staging is as follows:
- Localized, the cancer is limited to the lungs
- Regional, the tumor is spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes
- Distant, the cancer is applied to other parts of the body
Stages of NSCLC
- Stage 1: The cancer is discovered in the lung but has not progressed beyond the lungs.
- Stage 2: Cancer has spread to the lungs and lymph nodes at this stage.
- Stage 3: Cancer in the lung and lymph nodes in the center of your chest
- Stage 3A: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the same side of the chest where it first appeared.
- Stage 3B: Cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest from where it first appeared.
- Stage 4: Cancer has progressed to both lungs, the region around the lungs, or distant organs at this stage.
Stages of SCLC
SCLC is classified into two stages: limited and extensive. Cancer is diagnosed in only one lung and nearby lymph nodes on the same side of the chest at the restricted stage.
In the extensive stage, cancer has progressed to:
- Using only one lung
- To the opposite lung
- The fluid that surrounds the lungs
- Bone marrow
- Distant organs
According to Dr. Sandeep Nayak, one of the best oncologists in India, the following are the treatment options for lung cancer.
Chemotherapy uses medications designed to kill swiftly growing cells like cancer cells. It can be directly injected into the veins or given through a catheter, a thin tube placed into a large vein and kept there until it is not needed.
Some chemotherapy medications are taken in pill form.
These are newer drugs designed to act against weaknesses in cancer cells or tissues surrounding them. These can be taken orally or by IV.
Chemotherapy may be administered in combination with surgery to enhance survival chances in the early stages of non-small cell cancer. Chemotherapy and targeted treatments may be used to ease symptoms and extend life in advanced stages of non-small cell cancer and all stages of small cell cancer.
Radiation therapy is a type of x-ray that will kill cancer cells. It could be used as a primary treatment or in combination with chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that affects cancer cells most while causing minor damage to normal cells.
Stem Cell Therapy
As stem cells express anti-apoptotic and drug-resistant proteins at high levels, systemic therapy may help cure most lung cancers but is ineffective against metastasis and cancer recurrence.
Removing the tumor and surrounding lung tissue for individuals with limited cancer provides the highest chance of cure. Thoracic surgeons specializing in treating lung cancer and other chest malignancies should perform the surgery.
Your surgeon will assess if a tumor can be removed. Because of their proximity to, or invasion of, essential structures, not all tumors are potentially reversible.
According to Dr. Nayak, the following are the risk factors associated with lung cancer:
Tobacco products contain a lot of toxic substances. Smoking is the most significant risk factor for lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke exposure
Secondhand smoke can raise lung cancer risk even if you do not smoke.
Having gone through radiation therapy previously
If you’ve had chest radiation therapy for another form of cancer, you may be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
If you have a history of lung cancer in your immediate family, your chances of developing lung cancer are increased.
When lung cancer is detected early, it is most curable. Unfortunately, signs of lung cancer may not often appear in the early stages.
Treatment for lung cancer is determined by the kind of cancer and the stage of the disease. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are frequently used in medicine.
You can visit one of the best oncologists in India, Dr. Sandeep Nayak, for further queries and treatment.