Lung Cancer FAQs
What is non-small cell lung cancer?
Non-small cell lung cancer, or "non-small cell carcinoma," includes squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma develops in non-glandular lung tissue and spreads less quickly than other forms of lung cancer. Large cell carcinoma is often found in the smaller bronchi and is recognized by the large masses or tumors that it forms. Adenocarcinoma is a glandular form of lung cancer with low patient survival odds.
What is small-cell lung cancer?
Small-cell lung cancer, often referred to as oat cell lung cancer, is particularly dangerous to patients because it spreads quickly or "metastasizes" to other parts of the body. Small-cell lung cancer usually originates in the lung's hormone cells.
What is pleural mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma affects the protective skin lining the lungs and develops when inhaled asbestos dust injures lung tissue and causes tumors to form. At this time there is no cure for mesothelioma, but early detection can lessen potential harm to the patient.
What are the causes of lung cancer?
The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking cigarettes. Approximately 85 percent of all patients diagnosed with lung cancer are current or former smokers. Those who smoke cigars, pipes, or marijuana cigarettes run an even greater risk of developing lung cancer because there is no filter to protect their lungs. Secondhand smoke, radon, pollution, and asbestos exposure are also causes of lung cancer.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Because the symptoms of lung cancer are somewhat vague, people with lung cancer often confuse their symptoms with those of other problems and fail to visit their physician. If these symptoms have affected you, please visit your doctor:
- A "smoker's cough"
- Chest pain
- Sudden weight loss
- Fatigue, weariness or shortness of breath
- Blood in phlegm
- Pneumonia or bronchitis
- Facial swelling
How is lung cancer diagnosed?
If a patient exhibits symptoms of lung cancer, a diagnosis of lung cancer is of the utmost importance to ensure effective treatment. A physician will usually review a patient's health history, take a chest x-ray, and perform an analysis of a sputum sample. Final analysis, however, is based on a tissue or fluid sample taken from the lungs. If it has been determined that a patient has lung cancer, further studies will be made to determine what type of cancer the patient has and if it has spread.
What treatments are available for lung cancer patients?
Treatments options for lung cancer include lung cancer surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radioimmunotherapy, and photodynamic therapy. A doctor will consider a patient's overall health, the form of the cancer, and the extent to which it has metastasized before deciding on a treatment strategy.
How can lung cancer be prevented?
Because most lung cancer occurs as a result of smoking, not smoking is the greatest preventative measure a person can take. Within 15 years of smoking cessation, a person who smoked for years can significantly reduce his or her risk of developing lung cancer.
Here are some further preventative measures you can take to prevent lung cancer:
- Make sure that radon (a radioactive gas) is not present in your home
- Wear a protective mask if you will be working around products that could contain asbestos
- Avoid situations where you will be exposed to secondhand smoke
Do women run a higher risk of developing lung cancer than men?
Recent studies have found that women who smoke are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as men who smoke. It is not yet clear why women are more susceptible to lung cancer, but some physicians suspect that women take deeper drags and are less inclined to quit smoking.
Do light cigarettes reduce the chances of a person developing lung cancer?
Contrary to what many people assume, light cigarettes do not actually reduce lung cancer risks for smokers. Studies have found that smokers who use light or low-tar cigarettes take deeper drags and smoke more often.
Can pollution cause lung cancer?
Air pollution has been shown to contribute to the likelihood that a person will develop lung cancer. Carcinogens in the air, particularly nitrogen oxide, cause steady damage to the lungs over time. The effects of air pollution are particularly dangerous when compounded by other risk factors such as smoking.
I have smoked all my life. Will quitting now really help?
Yes! A person's risk of developing lung cancer is reduced each year that he or she doesn't smoke. After 15 years of not smoking, the lung tissue of an ex-smoker has few signs of the damage that was previously done. More people die each year from lung cancer than from any other form of cancer. The tragedy is that lung cancer is highly preventable. Taking care of your body can add years to your life!
Find a Lung Cancer Attorney in Your Area
If you or someone you know has been exposed to a dangerous conditions or substances that have resulted in lung cancer, it is important to consult with an attorney to find out about potential legal entitlements. Use ImpactLaw's directory to find a lung cancer lawyer in your state.