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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Diagnosing and Treating Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are different types of lung cancers. NSCLC occurs when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably. The abnormal tissues multiply, and they form malignant tumors. The tumors can spread to other organs and tissues. Smokers have the highest rates of NSCLC. Prolonged exposure to radon can also cause NSCLC.

NSCLC Symptoms

In the early stages of NSCLC, most people have chest pain. It may be hard to breathe. A cough that lingers is the first sign of a serious problem. If the coughing does not stop after a week, a doctor may recommend a chest x-ray. Shortness of breath can also be a sign of a serious issue. Some people lose weight and have unexplained hoarseness. When the illness spreads to the bones, some people have back pain and headaches.

Adenocarcinoma Cancers

Adenocarcinomas usually occur in current and former smokers. This type of cancer is more common in women. It is also more likely to develop in young smokers. Adenocarcinoma usually grows at a slower rate, and doctors are likely to detect it before it spreads to other organs. The cancerous tissues usually form tumors on the outer parts of the lung. If a physician detects adenocarcinoma tissues in the early stages, the patient is likely to respond to conventional treatments.

Squamous Carcinomas

Squamous carcinomas are flat cells that form inside the airways. Large cell carcinomas can grow in any area of the lung. It usually grows fast and spreads rapidly.

Surgery

Surgery is a typical treatment for tumors that have not spread to other organs. If the tumors have not spread beyond the lobe, the surgeon can perform a lobectomy. The surgeon may have to remove the entire damaged organ if the tumors have spread to the other organs.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy medications are administered when surgery is no longer a viable option. Sometimes, doctors will opt for chemotherapy before surgery. Chemotherapy medications can shrink tumors. After surgery, chemotherapy can destroy any remaining malignant tissues. Chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, the symptoms are usually temporary.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy can destroy malignant tumors. The treatment can be internal or external. If the therapy is administered internally, radioactive implants are injected into the malignant tumors. For external treatments, radioactive rays are aimed at the malignant tumor. This treatment is often used when the tumors have spread to other organs. However, this treatment method can be used before and after surgery.

Immunotherapy

When a physician uses immunotherapy treatment, medications are used to stimulate the patient's immune system. The immune system can destroy malignant tissues. The treatment method has fewer adverse side effects.

When a person is diagnosed with NSCLC, a physician will inform the patient of the different treatment options. The treatment plan will depend on the diagnosis and the severity of the illness. Most treatments are effective in the early stages. NSCLC is a serious diagnosis. Fortunately, people who quit smoking in the early stages have a high survival rate.

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