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Lung cancer

Lung cancer: Introduction

Lung cancer is a common cancer of the respiratory system. In lung cancer abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and devastate healthy lung cells. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both women and men.

The prognosis for someone with lung cancer is poor. Less than 10% of people with the disease live longer than five years after diagnosis. Diagnosing lung cancer in its earliest stage provides the best hope for successful treatment and a cure.

Because the vast majority of cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, it is a highly preventable cancer. It is key to not smoke and to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke. This includes not smoking cigars or pipes. Exposure to smoke damages the cells that line the lungs. Over time, these cells begin to change and grow abnormally, resulting in cancer.

Lung cancer may also be caused by exposure to carcinogens that can be present in the air, such as radon and asbestos. Less often, lung cancer may also develop from other cancers y that have metastasized to the lungs, such as breast cancer or bone cancer.

The longer a person smokes or is exposed to carcinogens in the air, the greater the chances of developing lung cancer. The greater the amount of smoking or concentration of carcinogens in the air, the greater the chances of developing lung cancer. Quitting smoking can greatly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, even if you have been a heavy smoker for many years.

Lung cancer in its early stages often produces no symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include a chronic cough with bloody sputum, repeated respiratory infections, and difficulty breathing. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of lung cancer.

Diagnosis of lung cancer begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and an examination. During the examination, your health care provider will listen to the sounds of your lungs with a stethoscope. Certain abnormal breathing noises, such as wheezing, may increase the suspicion of lung cancer, as well as other chronic lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Testing may include a chest X-ray, which may reveal a mass or tumor in the lungs. Other testing may include a CT scan of the chest and a sputum test, in which phlegm is examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

A lung biopsy is a more definitive test that takes a small sample of lung tissue in order to examine it for cancer cells. This procedure is performed using a camera that is inserted through a small incision in the chest to guide instruments inserted in other small incisions in taking a sample of lung tissue. This is called video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). A lung biopsy can also be performed with a special needle, called a needle biopsy or by using a bronchoscope. This instrument includes a lighted tube that is passed through the mouth and throat into the lungs to collect a sample of tissue.

Because there may be no symptoms of lung cancer, seeking medical care and getting a diagnosis can be delayed. In addition, symptoms can mimic symptoms of other diseases, such as bronchitis. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of lung cancer.

Treatment of lung cancer varies depending on a variety of factors, including the individual case, the specific type of lung cancer, and the stage of cancer. Treatment may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, some patients may choose to have no treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of lung cancer. ...more »

Lung cancer: Cancer of the lung is mostly related to smoking or tobacco use. Because of the prevalence of these practices, lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Some of the symptoms include chronic cough, coughing up blood, or chest pain. However, patients with only persistent coughing do not always seek medical advice early enough. Even when they do, lung cancer is sometimes misdiagnosed as something less harmful, making lung cancer the 4th most claimed malpractice injury. ...more »

Lung cancer: Symptoms

Symptoms of lung cancer can be similar to other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis and asthma. Symptoms can also vary between individuals with lung cancer.

Unfortunately, lung cancer often produces no symptoms in its earliest stages, when it is more treatable. Symptoms may not occur for a decade or more after lung cancer has begun growing. When ...more symptoms »

Lung cancer: Treatments

The first step in the treatment of lung cancer is prevention. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke. This includes pipes and cigars, as well as cigarettes, and avoiding second-hand smoke. Stopping smoking can also help to slow or stop the growth of a lung cancer tumor.

To prevent lung cancer, it is also important to avoid carcinogens in the air, such as ...more treatments »

Lung cancer: Misdiagnosis

Because most people have no symptoms of lung cancer in its early stages, it is easy to miss a diagnosis of the condition when it is most treatable and most curable.

A diagnosis of lung cancer can also be delayed, because it may be confused with or assumed to be symptoms of other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, pneumonia, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Lung cancer

Treatments for Lung cancer

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Lung cancer:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Lung cancer?

Lung cancer: Related Patient Stories

Lung cancer: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Lung cancer.

Alternative Treatments for Lung cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Lung cancer may include:

Types of Lung cancer

  • Primary lung cancer - see categorization by cell types affected:
    • Small Cell Lung Cancer - also Small cell carcinomas or "oat cell" cancers
    • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - more common than small cell lung cancer; there are various non-small cell subtypes:
      • Squamous cell carcinoma (lung) - also called "epidermoid carcinoma".
      • Adenocarcinomas (lung)
  • more types...»

Curable Types of Lung cancer

Possibly curable types of Lung cancer include:

Rare Types of Lung cancer:

Rare types of Lung cancer include:

Diagnostic Tests for Lung cancer

Test for Lung cancer in your own home

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Lung cancer: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Lung cancer:

Causes of Lung cancer

More information about causes of Lung cancer:

Disease Topics Related To Lung cancer

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Lung cancer:

Lung cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Lung cancer

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Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile more »

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of the more »

Lung cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Lung cancer

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Lung cancer:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Lung cancer, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Lung cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Lung cancer

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Lung cancer

Medical research articles related to Lung cancer include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Prognosis for Lung cancer

Prognosis for Lung cancer: It depends upon the histological type of cancer, the stage (degree of spread), and the patient's performance status . Only about 2% of those diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to other areas of the body are alive five years after the diagnosis, although the survival rates for lung cancers diagnosed at a very early stage are higher, with approximately 49% surviving for five years or longer.

Research about Lung cancer

Visit our research pages for current research about Lung cancer treatments.

Clinical Trials for Lung cancer

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Lung cancer include:

Prevention of Lung cancer

Prevention information for Lung cancer has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Lung cancer.

Statistics for Lung cancer

Lung cancer: Broader Related Topics

Lung cancer Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Lung cancer, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Lung cancer:

Carcinoma of the lungs; one of the commonest forms of cancer - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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