Receiving a cancer diagnosis, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your first step on this cancer journey is to learn more about the cancer you have been diagnosed with. We want to help you learn more so that you can collaborate with us as we create a personalized cancer plan suited to you and your needs.
What is Lung Cancer?
There are three main types of lung cancer that you may be diagnosed with. The type of cancer you have will influence your treatment options, and your final prognosis. The lungs can be compared to 2 sponge-like organs within your chest. There are sections within the chest called lobes. Your right lung has 3 lobes and your left lung has 2 lobes. The main function of your lungs is to help you breath, and provide the body with oxygen. When you breath in, air enters through your mouth and nose, before entering the trachea or windpipe and going into your lungs. The trachea is connected to smaller branches called the bronchi, which enter the lungs in small branches. Lung cancer normally starts in the cells that line the bronchi.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
This is the most common type of lung cancer. About 80% to 85% of people diagnosis will have non-small cell lung cancer. Although this type of cancer happens often in non-smokers, it occurs regularly in former or current smokers. It is most common in women, and will manifest in young people more so than other lung cancers.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
10% to 15% of lung cancer is small cell lung cancer. This cancer happens most commonly in smokers. It generally begins in the breathing tubes, or the bronchi, and grows very aggressively. It has been known to spread or metastasize throughout the body.
Lung Carcinoid Tumor
This lung cancer is uncommon, and develops much slower than non-small lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The tumors that form this type of cancer are called neuroendocrine cells.
Lung Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Sadly, lung cancer is a cancer that rarely shows signs before it spreads to other areas of the body. As with most cancers, it is best when diagnosis at an earlier stage when treatment can be most effective. It is important that you be aware of the common signs and symptoms of lung cancer, especially if you are a smoker, have been a smoker in the past, or live with a smoker.
If you are coughing and you find that it will not go away, and even worsens over time, this can be a symptom. If you are coughing up blood or any rust-colored sputum this is another cause for concern. Constant coughing, especially if you can not catch your breath should be noted and reported to the doctor.
Hoarseness/Shortness of Breath
Constant shortness of breath should be reported to your doctor. Feeling winded, when you have not exerted extra energy is a red flag. In addition, a developing hoarseness in your voice is not an uncommon symptom.
Weakness/loss of appetite
If you find that you are weak or feeling extremely tired without cause you should report this to your doctor. In addition, if you have extreme weight loss, or lose your appetite all together this may be a sign of lung cancer. This includes if you have an infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia that continues to come back.
If the lung cancer has spread to other organs the symptoms will escalate. You may experience bone pain, specifically in the back or hips. You may also notice changes in your nervous system such as headaches, dizziness, balance problems, numbness in your arms or legs, and possible even seizures. Yellowing of the skin can indicate that cancer has spread to the liver. Lumps can also form on the surface of the skin around areas such as the neck or above the collarbone.
Lung Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer with nearly 80% of cancer deaths as a direct result. This number is significantly higher for small cell lung cancer patients. In addition, the longer you smoke, the greater risk you are at. This includes cigar smoke, as well as second hand smoke. Despite some medical myths cigars and pipes are just as likely to cause lung cancer, while nearly 7,000 people die from lung cancer each year. Exposure to radon, and asbestos can also cause lung cancer.
You can prevent lung cancer by quitting smoking if you currently do. You can also avoid secondhand smoke at all costs. Be sure to have your home tested for radon and avoid working at jobs that will expose you to asbestos. In addition you can also eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and commit to exercising several times a week.
Lung Cancer Treatments
As previously stated, the type of lung cancer treatment you will need is dependent on many factors, such as the stage of your prostate cancer, your age and health, and of course your medical preferences. The doctors and nurses at Altus Cancer Center will be a prominent source in learning more about your cancer. We will explain your diagnosis, treatment options, and explain the progress that takes place along the way. At Altus Cancer Center, we develop a personalized approach based on your specific needs. In addition, we also offer additional resources including the emotional support you will need for your cancer journey.
What can we do for you?
Contact Us to schedule an appointment
We know your cancer diagnosis is frightening and overwhelming. Our nurses and expert physicians will be with you every step of the way as we create a personalized plan suited to you, and your needs. We also will provide you with the emotional support and resources designed to help you and your loved ones through your cancer journey.
Thank you for choosing Altus Cancer Center to care for you during this time. Through this journey we want to provide the Altus touch to both patients and families through our caring staff. Please contact us for any, and all questions.
You can also schedule a appointment at Altus Cancer Center by phone.
Baytown | 281-837-7600 (ext 2241)