Non-small cell lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung Cancer
Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that take over neighbouring cells and tissues and, at later stages, also spread to organs. When such cells start at the lung, they cause lung cancer. Of these, About 85% to 90% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There are 3 main subtypes of NSCLC:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Large cell carcinoma
Most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
- Persistent cough that may worsen
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
- New onset of wheezing
When lung cancer spreads to distant organs, it may cause:
- Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips)
- Neurologic changes
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Lumps near the surface of the body
Every type of Cancer has risk factors, but they don’t tell us everything. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.
- Tobacco smoke
- Air pollution
- Radiation therapy to the lungs
- Arsenic in drinking water
- Personal or family history of lung cancer
It can be prevented to a certain extent by avoiding the risk factors.
Cancer has different stages, each depicted by a Roman numeral from 1 to 4 (I, II, III and IV). Stage I is the first stage where the tumor is still small while at Stage IV, the patient’s condition is said to be critical because the tumor has spread to other organs of the body. Hence, a cancer’s stage refers to the tumor’s size and extent of spread. This is the simplest form of staging.
In Non-small cell lung cancer, the stage depends on whether it is confined to the origin of the cancer (localized cancer, Stage I) or whether it has spread to other organs (metastatic cancer).
The stage decides the kind of treatment you need to get. The greater the stage number, the more complex the treatment.
Needless to say, if the cancer is detected while it is still in Stage I, survival rate is higher. The rate decreases progressively with the increase in stage. Stage III is considered critical, while stage IV is, more often than not, fatal.
Medicine is evolving everyday to meet these challenges and to keep you happy, healthy and alive!
The best bet is to pay attention to the signs and symptom s as there are currently no routine tests for non-small cell lung cancer detection.
“Usually symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already in an advanced, non-curable stage. Even when symptoms of lung cancer do appear, many people may mistake them for other problems” – www.cancer.org
Based on the type and stage of the cancer and other factors, primary treatment options include:
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapies
Palliative procedures can also be used to help with symptoms.
Treatment is based on the type of tumor and other factors, and often more than one type of treatment is used. Discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your treatment team to help make the decision that best fits your needs.
If you have any of the symptoms, please do visit the doctor.