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Lung Cancer Treatment

Treatment Options for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer (carcinoma), the number one tumor worldwide, is one of the major causes of death in the U.S. and probably around the world. More and more men and women are dying in America due to this illness. It's time to look into the available options for possible treatment, before ending up to be a part of the statistics.

Tumor

The respiratory system starts to malfunction and adversely affect the rest of the body when a tumor develops.

The tumor usually grows when an error in the cell's DNA occurs. These cells transform into abnormal cells and start multiplying wildly, damaging the surrounding healthy tissues. As their number grows unchecked, they begin to bunch together forming the tumor.

Causes

As people grow older, the rate of cell replacements in the body starts to slow down, and faults in the DNA begin to appear. But this is not the only cause of tumors, because younger people are also exposed to them. Errors in our DNA can be caused also by breathing in or being exposed to dangerous, poisonous elements in our surroundings like smoke, asbestos and radon gas. When these toxic substances get inside our body, the normal cells get destroyed and replaced with abnormal ones, and the lungs become incapacitated by the dreaded disease.

It has long been established by researchers that smoking contributes a large percent of deaths from carcinoma in men and women in the U.S.

Symptoms

Carcinoma is hard to treat because it has no early stage symptoms to identify it. The warning signs start to show when the tumor has already multiplied and scattered to other parts of the body. By the time it is diagnosed, it's already too late.

Some of the signs that may show up during the advanced stage are:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Spitting blood
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pneumonia
  • Wheezing

Treatment Options

There are two main types of carcinoma: small cell (SCLC) and non-small cell (NSCLC). They are not treated the same way.

Below are the choices for treatment of carcinoma:

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for patients with early stage carcinoma who are in prime health. Surgery will cover the amputation of the whole lobe of the lung where the tumor was found, to get rid of the tumor cells and offer a cure. If the patient is not in good condition for surgery or if tumor cannot be removed due to its size or location, other options are used. The extent of the surgery will depend on the location and size of the tumor.

Radiation Therapy

Most patients who have a small localized carcinoma and are not qualified for surgery are treated with radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy has multiple functions in the cure of carcinoma. Prior to surgery, it can be used to shrink the tumor; it can be used post-surgery to purge any tumor cells that still remain in the area, and to treat the tumor that has invaded the brain or other areas of the body.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy entails the administration of drugs that are lethal to cancer cells. It is also trusted to delay tumor growth and ease carcinoma symptoms in patients who are not qualified to have surgery. It can be used in all stages of carcinoma and can increase longevity even in older patients provided they are in superior health. There is increasing proof that using these drugs incorporated with radiotherapy is more effective than radiotherapy alone, but there is sufficient danger of serious consequences.

The treatment for SCLC is usually chemo because the tumor has usually already spread before it was diagnosed. Radiotherapy may also be an alternative treatment.

On the other hand, NSCLC can be treated with various alternative methods, based on the degree of invasion. These treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or their combination.

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