Information About Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment|Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2020
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, so it is a great time to learn more about the disease. Lung cancer is primarily caused by smoking, but it has other causes like radon, asbestos, and pollution. It is a more treatable disease when found early, but when it is found too late, it can spread and be deadly. The five-year survival rate, which is the percentage of people that survive for a specific amount of time (in this case five years), is only 18.6 percent when the cancer spreads. When the cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 56 percent, which is why it is so important for people to be screened if they are in a high-risk group.
If someone is in a high-risk group for lung cancer, he or she can be screened and potentially diagnosed with the disease in a few different ways. One way is through an imaging test. When patients undergo this procedure, an X-ray image of the chest is created to see if there are any masses or nodules present. CT scans can also be performed to find small lesions not found in an X-ray. Doctors can also perform sputum cytology, where the sputum from someone’s cough is examined to find lung cancer cells. Doctors can also perform a tissue sample. Doctors do this by performing a biopsy, where cells are taken out of the body. Doctors can do bronchoscopies which use lighted tubes inserted into the lungs, mediastinoscopies where cells are removed from lymph nodes behind the breastbone, or needle biopsies where a needle is inserted into the body guided by an X-ray or CT scan to get cells. The cells are then examined in a lab to determine if cancer is present.
Lung cancer can be treated in different ways, depending on the extent and type of the cancer. If surgery is required, doctors can perform a lobectomy where a lobe is removed or a wedge resection where the tumor and surrounding lung tissue is removed. Doctors can also perform a segmentectomy where a part of the lung is removed where the cancer started or a pneumonectomy where an entire lung is removed. Patients can also undergo radiation, where X-rays or other high energy particles are administered to the body to kill cancer cells. Patients can also undergo chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy is a treatment that utilizes certain drugs that help prevent cancer cells from growing and dividing. Targeted therapy is a treatment where a cancer’s genes or proteins are targeted to prevent the spread and growth of cancer. Immunotherapy is also a great option and the results are very promising. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to find and kill cancer cells.
Regardless of how someone is diagnosed or treated, it is best to seek a medical professional as soon as possible if lung cancer is suspected. Lung cancer is a very deadly cancer and once it spreads, the prognosis for patients is very bad. If you were diagnosed with lung cancer, you could be entitled to compensation, even if you smoked. People who were exposed to asbestos through their workplace had no idea their lives were being endangered even though their employers did. If you were exposed to asbestos and now have lung cancer or mesothelioma, contact us today to see what we can do for you. Call 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form and a member of our staff will help in any way they can.