How is lung cancer
Surgery remains the treatment of choice for individuals who can
undergo resection of the cancer. Prompt evaluation and immediate
diagnosis is always encouraged for individuals with abnormal symptoms.
Other types of lung cancer treatments include chemotherapy which
involves receiving medication into the blood stream that attacks the
cancer cells in all parts of the body. Yet another type of lung cancer
treatment utilizes radiation therapy to eliminate the tumor cells. In
fact, most tumors can be precisely targeted with radiation therapy.
New modalities for lung cancer treatment are
Radio Frequency Ablation of the tumor, Use of
Cyber Knife Radiation,
What are the different types of lung cancer?
There are two major types of lung cancer: one is small cell lung
cancer and the other is non-small cell lung cancer.
Small cell lung
cancer accounts for approximately 25% of all lung cancers and exhibits
rapid cell growth and spread. It is treated primarily with
chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Non-small cell cancer is much more
common, accounting for 75% of all lung cancers and is treated
primarily with surgery and radiotherapy. Non-small cell lung cancers
can consist of three major types:
squamous cell carcinoma,
large cell carcinoma. Of these three, squamous cell
lung cancer is more responsive to radiation therapy.
Broncho-alveolar carcinoma is a
variant of adenocarcinoma.
How fast does it spread?
The rate at which lung cancer spreads varies greatly with each
individual and with each cell type. However, tumor growth is
typically seen over months as opposed to days or years. How does it spread to
other parts of the body? Cancer cells are abnormal and divide without
control or order. These cells can invade and destroy the tissue around
them, break away from a malignant tumor and can enter the bloodstream
or lymphatic system. This process is referred to as "metastasizing"
and is how cancer spreads from the original tumor to form new tumors
in other parts of the body.
What tests may be ordered?
Chest X-rays— A chest x-ray is often the first study ordered to
evaluate a patient with a complaint of cough or shortness of breath.
It actually allows a photographic image of the lungs to be checked for
CAT Scan— Computed tomography is a type of scanning where
cross-sectional images of an area are performed to assess tumor size
or possible spread. Typical areas scanned include the chest, head,
abdomen and pelvis.
MRI Scan : Magnetic Resonance
Imaging is good for lymph nodes, Pleural mesotheliomas and metastatic
disease to chest wall and adrenals and brain.
Bronchoscopy— Bronchoscopy is a procedure which allows direct
visualization of the airways by your physician. After a numbing
medication and sedation are provided, a special flexible tube is
passed through the mouth or nose and into the airways where specimens
can be taken, aiding in diagnosis.
New technology in Bronchoscopy with
Endo bronchial Ultrasound probe.
Sputum Examination— With coughing, tumor cells can be released
right into the sputum. Collecting an early morning specimen can be
very helpful in detecting abnormal cells.
PET Scan— The PET scan is a diagnostic tool used to aid in the
assessment of tumors. A small dose of a chemical called a radionuclide
combined with a sugar in small plastic
tube is injected intravenous into the arm. Because malignant tumors grow at a faster rate than
normal tissue, they preferentially take up the sugar and therefore,
appear abnormal on the scan as this sugar consumed releases positrons
which register on the scan. Thus the areas which consume sugar light
up. More intense sugar uptake means more light-up of the tumor thus
more likely malignant.
PET-CT Scan or Dual Scan-
The PET and CT scans are done together and images are
superimposed to get an accurate detail of tumor and if images are
superimposed and match they suggest cancer.
Bone Scan— A bone scan is used to detect areas of bone growth,
infection or tumor. This test may be ordered to detect evidence of
spread of lung cancer to the bones
CT Guided Needle Biopsy - This is a method of doing CAT
scan and taking a needle and piercing the chest wall and doing a
biopsy from the chest, lungs or lymph nodes.