What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer begins with the formation of a mass (tumor) in the lung by proliferating the need and control of cells with structurally normal lung tissue.
This mass primarily grows in the environment where it grows, but in later stages it causes damage to the surrounding tissues or through the circulation to the distant organs (liver, bone, brain, etc.). Lung cancer is the first type of cancer that causes death among males and the second type of cancer among females.
Approximately 1.3 million people die every year in the world due to lung cancer. However, with the newly developed lung cancer treatment methods, the average life expectancy and quality have increased.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Symptoms of lung cancer may not lead to significant complaints until the disease is quite advanced. Lung cancer without symptoms is the most important factor that makes this cancer so dangerous. Symptoms suggesting that the person is cancer;
Cigarette smoking and chronic bronchitis associated with one, seasonal cough and sputum complaints sustained continuity, increasing breathlessness, blood in the sputum, especially on the back of the shoulder blades or spasm spreading sore chest pain, unconscious weight loss, hoarseness, wheezing, Feeling very tired is one of the complaints that must raise suspicion for cancer.
What are the risk factors of lung cancer?
There are several risk factors that trigger tumor incidence in the lung. Smoking, the use of cigars and pipes, passive smokers (those exposed to tobacco smoke), exposure to toxic gases, asbestos, air pollution and lung diseases (previous tuberculosis) are among the factors that increase the risk of developing this disease.
Once a person has lung cancer, the risk of recurrence of this disease is higher than that of no cancer. There are also some risky occupations that prepare the ground for tumor formation in the lung. Miners, textile, insulation, plastic-industry, petrochemical, paint, metal and welding and working at the shipyard can be listed in this group.
Lung cancer in some people cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort although the early stage usually does not reveal a remarkable symptom. The patient may be diagnosed incidentally when performing chest scans or CT scans for different reasons.
What are the types of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is divided into two main groups that represent different cell types and need different treatment. There are separate treatment methods for both groups:
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer is a cancer type that progresses more rapidly and is often diagnosed with distant metastases when diagnosed. 85% of patients are small extracellular lung cancer (NSCLC) and 15% are small cell lung cancer.
What are the diagnostic methods of lung cancer?
Your doctor will ask for one or more tests to see if you have a mass in your lung, such as a lung film or lung tomography. If he detects an abnormality in your lung, he will evaluate this mass by PET / CT prior to biopsy and will request a biopsy to determine the nature of the mass. For the biopsy, the tissue sample is removed from the suspicious area in the lung and examined under a microscope to identify the disease. Tissue samples can also be taken from nearby lymph nodes.
Bronchoscopy: It is based on the examination of the airways by inserting a thin and light tube through the mouth. A small piece of tissue is removed from the suspected or near bronchial mucosa of the tumor site.
Needle Aspiration: A biopsy needle is inserted into the tumor site from the chest wall to remove a small piece of tissue from the tumor. This procedure is performed with radiological imaging.
Thoracentesis: A biopsy needle is used to collect samples from the surrounding fluid.
Thoracotomy: It is the opening of the thoracic cavity with surgical intervention to get a piece of the tumor directly. If the patient is found to have lung cancer as a result of biopsy, the extent of the cancer (stage) is investigated by performing tests.
What are the stages of lung cancer?
Different methods can be used for staging lung cancer;
CT – Computed Tomography
MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
PET / CT – Positron Emission Tomography / Computed Tomography
Mediastinoscopy / Mediastinotomy: both are interventional procedures and indicate whether the cancer is spread to the lymph nodes within the rib cage.
Staging for small cell lung cancer is limited and common. There are four stages for NSCLC. In stage 1 and 2, local disease is mentioned. In stage 3 and 4, there is spread to the lymphatic system and to the distant organs through blood.
What are the methods of treating lung cancer?
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): The choice of treatment is related to the prevalence of the disease. In this group of cancers, surgical intervention is the most common form of treatment. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are also used to slow the duration of the disease and control the findings.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): In many cases, the disease is spread to other parts of the body when diagnosed. Therefore, surgical treatment is little applied in small cell lung cancer. Doctors often prefer chemotherapy to reach cancer cells spread over the body.
Chemotherapy-containing treatment can also be performed by targeting cancers in the lungs or in other parts of the body. In some patients, radiotherapy for the brain can be applied even if there is no cancer. This treatment is called protective brain irradiation. This is given to prevent the formation of cancer (tumor) in the brain. One or more of the following treatments may be used, depending on the size, spread, and pathological type of the tumor:
Surgical treatment (removal of the tumor in the lung)
Chemotherapy (drug therapy); neoadjuvant (preoperative) and adjuvant (postoperative)
Radiotherapy (radiation therapy) click here to read