Information for Patients
Also called: Bronchogenic carcinoma
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. It is a leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer. High levels of pollution, radiation and asbestos exposure may also increase risk.
Common symptoms of lung cancer include
- A cough that doesn't go away and gets worse over time
- Constant chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
- Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
Doctors diagnose lung cancer using a physical exam, imaging, and lab tests. Treatment depends on the type, stage, and how advanced it is. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- After chemotherapy - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Coughing up blood (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lung cancer (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lung cancer - non-small cell (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lung cancer - small cell (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lung PET scan (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Lung surgery (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Metastatic cancer to the lung (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Solitary pulmonary nodule (Medical Encyclopedia)
Lung cancer Lung cancer is a disease in which certain cells in the lungs become abnormal and multiply uncontrollably to form a tumor. Lung cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. Some people with lung cancer have chest pain, frequent coughing, blood in the mucus, breathing problems, trouble swallowing or speaking, loss of appetite and weight loss, fatigue, or swelling in the face or neck. Additional symptoms can develop if the cancer spreads (metastasizes) into other tissues. Lung cancer occurs most often in adults in their sixties or seventies. Most people who develop lung cancer have a history of long-term tobacco smoking; however, the condition can occur in people who have never smoked.Lung cancer is generally divided into two types, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, based on the size of the affected cells when viewed under a microscope. Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for 85 percent of lung cancer, while small cell lung cancer accounts for the remaining 15 percent.Small cell lung cancer grows quickly and in more than half of cases the cancer has spread beyond the lung by the time the condition is diagnosed. Small cell lung cancer often metastasizes, most commonly to the liver, brain, bones, and adrenal glands (small hormone-producing glands located on top of each kidney). After diagnosis, most people with small cell lung cancer survive for about 1 year; less than seven percent survive 5 years.Non-small cell lung cancer is divided into three main subtypes: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell lung carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma arises from the cells that line the small air sacs (alveoli) located throughout the lungs. Squamous cell carcinoma arises from squamous cells that line the passages leading from the windpipe (trachea) to the lungs (bronchi). Large cell carcinoma arises from epithelial cells that line the lungs. Large cell carcinoma encompasses non-small cell lung cancers that do not appear to be adenocarcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas. The 5-year survival rate for people with non-small cell lung cancer is usually between 11 and 17 percent; it can be lower or higher depending on the subtype and stage of the cancer.