Lung Cancer

Also called: Bronchogenic carcinoma

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. It is a leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer. High levels of pollution, radiation and asbestos exposure may also increase risk.

Common symptoms of lung cancer include

  • A cough that doesn't go away and gets worse over time
  • Constant chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
  • Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue

Doctors diagnose lung cancer using a physical exam, imaging, and lab tests. Treatment depends on the type, stage, and how advanced it is. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The following features are indicative of Lung Cancer:
  • cough that doesn't go away
  • changes in a chronic cough
  • coughing up blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • wheezing
  • hoarseness
  • losing weight without trying
  • bone pain
  • headache
It is possible that Lung Cancer shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Lung Cancer

The following are the most common causes of Lung Cancer:
  • smoking
  • people exposed to secondhand smoke

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Lung Cancer:
  • family history of lung cancer
  • smoking
  • exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens
  • exposure to radon gas
  • exposure to secondhand smoke

Prevention of Lung Cancer

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Lung Cancer. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid secondhand smoke
  • avoid carcinogens at work
  • eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • exercise most days of the week

Occurrence of Lung Cancer

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Lung Cancer cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Lung Cancer most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Lung Cancer can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Lung Cancer:
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans: To diagnose the lung cancer
  • Imaging tests: To examine the abnormal mass or nodule in your lungs
  • Sputum cytology: To evaluate the presence of lung cancer cells
  • Biopsy: To eliminate the sample of abnormal cells

Doctor for Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Lung Cancer:
  • Pulmonologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Oncologists
  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Palliative care specialists

Complications of Lung Cancer if untreated

Yes, Lung Cancer causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Lung Cancer is left untreated:
  • pleural effusion
  • pain
  • shortness of breath
  • hemoptysis
  • metastasis

Procedures for Treatment of Lung Cancer

The following procedures are used to treat Lung Cancer:
  • Surgery: To remove lung cancer
  • Chemotherapy: To destroy the cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy: To kill cancer cells

Self-care for Lung Cancer

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Lung Cancer:
  • Try to relax: To cope with shortness of breath
  • Find a comfortable position: Helps to lean forward when you feel short of breath
  • Focus your mind on your breathing
  • Save your energy for what's important

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Lung Cancer

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Lung Cancer:
  • Acupuncture therapy: Lowers the pain and ease cancer treatment side effects
  • Hypnosis therapy: Relieves anxiety, nausea and pain in people with cancer
  • Massage therapy: Reduces anxiety and pain in people with cancer
  • Do meditation: Lowers stress and improve quality of life in people with cancer
  • Do yoga: Helps people with cancer sleep better

Patient Support for Treatment of Lung Cancer

The following actions may help Lung Cancer patients:
  • Supportive care: Improves the mood and quality of life
  • Learn enough about lung cancer to make decisions about your care: Helps you in becoming more confident in making treatment decisions
  • Keep friends and family close: Provides the practical support and help you deal with your lung cancer

Time for Treatment of Lung Cancer

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Lung Cancer to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Lung Cancer.

Related Topics

Lung Diseases

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