cancers are cancers that begin in the lungs. Other
types of cancers may spread to the lungs from other
organs. However, these are not lung cancers because
they did not start in the lungs. When cancer cells
spread from one organ to another, they are called
Research has found several risk
factors for lung cancer. A "risk factor"
is anything that changes risk of getting a disease.
Different risk factors change risk by different amounts.
The risk factors for lung cancer
smoking and being around others' smoke
things around us at home or work (such as radon gas)
personal traits (such as having a family history of
Different people have different
symptoms for lung cancer. Some people don't have any
symptoms at all. About 25% of people with lung cancer
do not have symptoms from advanced cancer when their
lung cancer is found. Lung cancer symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing that doesn't go away
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Other changes that can sometimes
occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts
of pneumonia, changes in the shape of the fingertips,
and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) in the
upper chest and lower neck.
These symptoms can happen with other
illnesses, too. People with symptoms should talk to
their doctor, especially if they smoke, but even if
they don't. Doctors can help find the cause.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A person's lung cancer diagnosis
depends on the type of lung cancer present. The two
main types of lung cancer are small cell lung cancer
and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung
cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.
These categories refer to what the cancer cells look
like under a microscope.
The extent of disease is referred
to as the stage. Information about how big a cancer
is or how far it has spread is often used to determine
the stage. Doctors use information about stage to
plan treatment and to monitor progress.
There are several ways to treat
lung cancer. The treatment depends on the type of
lung cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments
include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. People
with lung cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
Doctors cut out and remove cancer
tissue in an operation.
Chemotherapy involves the use of
drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs could
be pills or medicines given through an IV (intravenous)
tube. Sometimes chemotherapy includes both IV drugs
Radiation uses high-energy rays
(similar to x-rays) to try to kill the cancer cells.
The rays are aimed at the part of the body where the
These treatments may be provided
by different doctors on your medical team. Pulmonologists
are doctors that are experts in diseases of the lungs.
Surgeons are doctors that perform operations. Medical
oncologists are doctors that are experts in cancer
and treat cancers with medicines. Radiation oncologists
are doctors that treat cancers with radiation.