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            Ramesh Kaul, MD., FCCP. M Surgery      

Satyasagar Morisetty MD, FCCP

Cheryl Lindsey, CRNP       Mary Beth Hein, PA       Andrew Shedwick, PA

Lawrence County Office : The Medical Arts Building 2602 Wilmington Road
Suite 102, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16105

phone: +1 724-657- 5285            fax: +1 724- 657- 6714
associatemedical@aol.com

Beaver County Office    2349 Mill Street Aliquippa 15001
     


Lung cancer is perhaps one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed today. The lungs, of course, are a pair of cone-shaped organs situated inside the chest, they absorb oxygen into the body and omit carbon dioxide. There is a confirmed link between smoking and lung cancer. There are essentially two primary categories of lung cancer; Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. World-wide over one million people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Lung cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of abnormal functioning cells which are located within the lungs. All normal lung tissue is comprised of various cells which are programmed by nature to create lungs of a certain shape and function. Sometimes the instructions contained within these cells function abnormally, thusly that cell and inevitably all of that cell's offspring will then reproduce uncontrollably, without any regard for the normal shape and primary function of the lungs. This erratic reproduction can inexorably form tumors which obstruct the lung and cause it to stop functioning as it should. Because of the significant size of the lungs, cancer may grow and develop for a multitude of years, thus going undetected, without ever causing any suspicion. In fact, lung cancer can very easily spread to areas located outside of the  lungs without ever causing any obvious or even noticeable symptoms. Further adding to the onslaught of confusion, the most common symptom of lung cancer, a nagging, persistent cough, can often be mistaken for a cold or bronchitis.

How common is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is by far one of the most common cancers in the United States alone, accounting for about 15 percent of all recent cancer cases, or 170,000 new cases each year. At this time, over half of the known lung cancer cases in the United States are usually found in men, but the number found in women is now increasing drastically and will soon equal that found in men. Today more women die of lung cancer than of breast cancer. The majority of all people who are diagnosed with lung cancer each year have been cigarette smokers, but not all people who smoke will develop lung cancer. And, some people who have never smoked develop lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer may cause a number of symptoms. A cough is one of the more common ones and is likely to happen when a tumor grows and eventually blocks off an air passage. Another symptom is ongoing chest, shoulder, or back pain, which feels much like a constant ache that may or may not be related to coughing. Other symptoms may also include shortness of breath, constant fatigue, repeated pneumonia or bronchitis, coughing up blood, hoarseness, or swelling of the neck and face. There may also be symptoms that do not seem to be at all related to the lungs. These may be caused by the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body. Depending on which organs are affected other symptoms can include headaches, weakness, pain, bone fractures, bleeding, or blood clots.

What are the different types of lung cancer?
The category of cells found within a tumor determines the specific type of lung cancer. The two principal types of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell. The terms small cell and non-small cell refer specifically to the type of cell a doctor can actually see under the microscope, not to the size of the tumor. There are more than a dozen different
multiplicities of lung cancer. The following types of lung cancer cause  90% of all lung cancer cases diagnosed: Small cell carcinoma [also referred to as oat cell carcinoma]: usually originates in one of the larger breathing tubes, grows fairly rapidly, and is likely to be very sizeable by the time of diagnosis. Non-small cell lung cancer: is normally comprised of the following three subtypes: Epidermoid carcinoma [which is also known as squamous cell carcinoma]: usually starts in one of the larger breathing tubes and then develops relatively slowly. The overall size of these tumors can ultimately range from extremely small to quite large. Adeno-carcinoma: starts developing near the outside surface of the lungs and may fluctuate in both size and growth rate. Some of the more slowly emerging Adeno-carcinomas are  documented and identified as alveolar cell cancer. Large cell carcinoma: which commonly originates near the surface of the lung, grows rather rapidly, and is usually quite large when diagnosed. The names given to some of the more uncommon, infrequent types of lung cancer are carcinoid, cylindroma, mucoepidermoid, and malignant mesothelioma. Approximately 5% to 10% of all lung cancers diagnosed are of these types.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?
If lung cancer is suspected or detected, you will have a series of tests designed to confirm the disease [diagnosis] go on the  Treatment Page and to determine how widely the cancer has spread [staging].

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