Lung cancer is caused by abnormal growth of tissues in the lining of an individual's lungs, resulting in the growth of an abnormal malignant tumor. There are currently two general categories of lung cancer: non-small-cell lung cancer (NCLC), which differ in terms of its appearance on a mammogram, the severity of its spread to other organs in the body, and the type of tumor it causes, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. In order for a patient to have a good prognosis, a good diagnosis and treatment can all work together to produce the best outcome possible.
A doctor will usually begin by ruling out non-cancerous cells with a palliative therapy, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After these treatments have failed, a diagnosis of lung cancer is made. Sometimes a lung biopsy is done, but this is not always necessary. When NCLC are found, a treatment option will be determined based on how far advanced the disease is and also depending on how many nodes are affected. Stage I is the earliest stage, while Stage III and IV are more advanced.
The treatment plan will depend on how far advanced the cancer has become. Treatment options may include surgery (either a pleural injection or a lumpectomy), radiotherapy, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy (both known as radiotherapy or photodynamic therapy). Surgery is most often used as a last resort, as it can cause some serious side effects in patients. Radiotherapy is often used to remove tumors that have spread outside the lungs.
Once the doctor has diagnosed lung cancer, treatment options will be discussed and possible treatments will be determined. The majority of symptoms are fairly easy to cope with and even if serious symptoms do occur, the chances of full recovery are great. In more severe cases, doctors will likely perform surgery to remove a tumor. However, some symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, can make treatment hard to consider.
A biopsy is the next step in determining the stage of lung cancer and will generally be performed by a pathologist or oncologist. A biopsy is simply a process of removing cells from the patient's body for testing purposes. These cells are taken from a variety of places, such as the lung, bone, or blood.
A definitive diagnosis, however, is only possible when the doctor can show that the cancer has spread beyond the normal tissues. One way of doing this is through a lung cancer test called a chest x-ray. This test will show whether or not the tumor can grow in other areas of the lung's lining, as well as in the upper part of the airway. A CT scan or PET scan will also be able to show whether or not the spread of the tumor has affected the other organs.
Other symptoms include problems breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and swelling of one's fingers and toes. If the cancer has spread outside of the lung and into the lymph system, it may cause fluid buildup in those areas as well. Most often, cancerous cells will begin to grow abnormally before they spread to these other parts. Chemotherapy, a treatment used to fight cancer cells, can stop the growth of cancerous cells, but once the treatment is stopped, any potential recurrence will not happen.
It is important to note that immunotherapy drugs cannot prevent lung cancer or keep someone from developing it after they quit smoking. However, many people who begin treatment with immunotherapy drugs find that their cancers are shrinking, even though no treatment has been given. Immunotherapy drugs do have a lot of advantages, such as fewer side effects, fewer health complications, and a better chance of success for early-stage cancers. When taken along with chemotherapy and lung cancer treatments, immunotherapy drugs are an effective treatment for cancer of all kinds.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and, no doubt, the best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.