Information for Patients
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
There are two main types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These two types grow differently and are treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common type.
Who is at risk for lung cancer?
Lung cancer can affect anyone, but there are certain factors that raise your risk of getting it:
- Smoking. This is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking causes about 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men and about 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in women. The earlier in life you start smoking, the longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your risk of lung cancer. The risk is also greater if you smoke a lot and drink alcohol every day or take beta carotene supplements. If you have quit smoking, your risk will be lower than if you had kept smoking. But you will still have a higher risk than people who never smoked.
- Secondhand smoke, which is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke breathed out by a smoker. When you inhale it, you are exposed to the same cancer-causing agents as smokers, although in smaller amounts.
- Family history of lung cancer
- Being exposed to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, beryllium, nickel, soot, or tar in the workplace
- Being exposed to radiation, such as from
- Radiation therapy to the breast or chest
- Radon in the home or workplace
- Certain imaging tests such as CT scans
- HIV infection
- Air pollution
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Sometimes lung cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms. It may be found during a chest x-ray done for another condition.
If you do have symptoms, they may include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- A cough that doesn't go away or gets worse over time
- Trouble breathing
- Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck
How is lung cancer diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
- A family history
- A physical exam
- Imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or chest CT scan
- Lab tests, including tests of your blood and sputum
- A biopsy of the lung
If you do have lung cancer, your provider will do other tests to find out how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This is called staging. Knowing the type and stage of lung cancer you have helps your provider decide what kind of treatment you need.
What are the treatments for lung cancer?
For most patients with lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer.
Your treatment will depend on which type of lung cancer you have, how far it has spread, your overall health, and other factors. You may get more than one type of treatment.
The treatments for small cell lung cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Laser therapy, which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells
- Endoscopic stent placement. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to look at tissues inside the body. It may be used to put in a device called a stent. The stent helps to open an airway that has been blocked by abnormal tissue.
The treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
- Laser therapy
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT), which uses a medicine and a certain type of laser light to kill cancer cells
- Cryosurgery, which uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
- Electrocautery, a treatment that uses a probe or needle heated by an electric current to destroy abnormal tissue
Can lung cancer be prevented?
Avoiding the risk factors may help to prevent lung cancer:
- Quitting smoking. If you don't smoke, don't start.
- Lower your exposure to hazardous substances at work
- Lower your exposure to radon. Radon tests can show whether your home has high levels of radon. You can buy a test kit yourself or hire a professional to do the test.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
General Equivalence Map Definitions
The ICD-9 and ICD-10 GEMs are used to facilitate linking between the diagnosis codes in ICD-9-CM and the new ICD-10-CM code set. The GEMs are the raw material from which providers, health information vendors and payers can derive specific applied mappings to meet their needs.
- Approximate Flag - The approximate flag is on, indicating that the relationship between the code in the source system and the code in the target system is an approximate equivalent.
- No Map Flag - The no map flag indicates that a code in the source system is not linked to any code in the target system.
- Combination Flag - The combination flag indicates that more than one code in the target system is required to satisfy the full equivalent meaning of a code in the source system.
Index of Diseases and Injuries Definitions
- And - The word "and" should be interpreted to mean either "and" or "or" when it appears in a title.
- Code also note - A "code also" note instructs that two codes may be required to fully describe a condition, but this note does not provide sequencing direction.
- Code first - Certain conditions have both an underlying etiology and multiple body system manifestations due to the underlying etiology. For such conditions, the ICD-10-CM has a coding convention that requires the underlying condition be sequenced first followed by the manifestation. Wherever such a combination exists, there is a "use additional code" note at the etiology code, and a "code first" note at the manifestation code. These instructional notes indicate the proper sequencing order of the codes, etiology followed by manifestation.
- Type 1 Excludes Notes - A type 1 Excludes note is a pure excludes note. It means "NOT CODED HERE!" An Excludes1 note indicates that the code excluded should never be used at the same time as the code above the Excludes1 note. An Excludes1 is used when two conditions cannot occur together, such as a congenital form versus an acquired form of the same condition.
- Type 2 Excludes Notes - A type 2 Excludes note represents "Not included here". An excludes2 note indicates that the condition excluded is not part of the condition represented by the code, but a patient may have both conditions at the same time. When an Excludes2 note appears under a code, it is acceptable to use both the code and the excluded code together, when appropriate.
- Includes Notes - This note appears immediately under a three character code title to further define, or give examples of, the content of the category.
- Inclusion terms - List of terms is included under some codes. These terms are the conditions for which that code is to be used. The terms may be synonyms of the code title, or, in the case of "other specified" codes, the terms are a list of the various conditions assigned to that code. The inclusion terms are not necessarily exhaustive. Additional terms found only in the Alphabetic Index may also be assigned to a code.
- NEC "Not elsewhere classifiable" - This abbreviation in the Alphabetic Index represents "other specified". When a specific code is not available for a condition, the Alphabetic Index directs the coder to the "other specified” code in the Tabular List.
- NOS "Not otherwise specified" - This abbreviation is the equivalent of unspecified.
- See - The "see" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index indicates that another term should be referenced. It is necessary to go to the main term referenced with the "see" note to locate the correct code.
- See Also - A "see also" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index instructs that there is another main term that may also be referenced that may provide additional Alphabetic Index entries that may be useful. It is not necessary to follow the "see also" note when the original main term provides the necessary code.
- 7th Characters - Certain ICD-10-CM categories have applicable 7th characters. The applicable 7th character is required for all codes within the category, or as the notes in the Tabular List instruct. The 7th character must always be the 7th character in the data field. If a code that requires a 7th character is not 6 characters, a placeholder X must be used to fill in the empty characters.
- With - The word "with" should be interpreted to mean "associated with" or "due to" when it appears in a code title, the Alphabetic Index, or an instructional note in the Tabular List. The word "with" in the Alphabetic Index is sequenced immediately following the main term, not in alphabetical order.