Lung cancer

Index

  1. What is it?
  2. Prognosis
  3. Symptoms of lung cancer
  4. Medical tests
  5. Causes of lung cancer
  6. Can lung cancer be prevented?
  7. Lung cancer treatment
  8. What specialist treats it?

What is lung cancer?

It is the most lethal of all types of cancer and, in the Western world, it is the leading cause of death from cancer.

Lung cancer can be of two types: small cell and non-small cell. The most common is non-small cell and is divided into squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

Tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer.

Prognosis of lung cancer

Lung cancer, along with pancreatic and esophageal cancer, are the most aggressive tumors.

Due to the aggressiveness of the tumor and the difficulty of early diagnosis, it is estimated that 15% of lung cancer patients survive more than 5 years.

Symptoms of lung cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer can be various, but the most common are the following:

  • Long-lasting cough
  • Coughing up blood or sputum the color of rusty metal.
  • Chest damage that is often worsened by deep breathing, coughing or laughing
  • Tiredness or exhaustion
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss

Medical tests for lung cancer

The only medical test recommended for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called low-dose CT). During the test the patient lies on a table while an X-ray machine applies a low dose of radiation to produce detailed images of his or her lungs. The study takes only a few minutes and is painless.

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What are the causes of lung cancer?

The main and fundamental cause of the tumor is smoking. However, as in other types of cancer, the cause may be multifactorial and several elements may contribute to its occurrence in a synergistic manner. The main risk factors are:

  • Genetic condition
  • Environmental factors
  • Active and passive smoking

Risk factors are not a cause in themselves. It may happen that some people, with risk factors, never get lung cancer, but others, without risk factors, may get lung cancer.

Can it be prevented?

The best way to reduce the risk is not to smoke and to avoid the smoke of smokers. It should be noted that the duration of smoking is much more prominent as a risk factor compared to the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Therefore, quitting smoking at any age can result in a much greater reduction in the risk of lung cancer than just reducing the amount.

What is the treatment?

There are several types, some of which are amenable to non-surgical treatment and others in which surgery will be necessary.

However, it is known the benefits that, on several occasions, can be obtained through the combination of surgical, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, being sometimes possible to carry out combination treatments with chemo and radiotherapy, avoiding surgery.

In order to have a better prognosis of the cancer it is important to diagnose it at a very early stage, when the size is only a few centimeters. In this way, the tumor can be removed and survival and prognosis improve significantly.

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Which specialist treats lung cancer?

The pulmonologist and medical oncologist will be in charge of the diagnosis, follow-up and treatment of lung cancer.