Types and Stages Of Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two major types of lung cancer. About 80 to 85% of diagnosed cases of the disease are attributed to NSCLC and the remaining 10 to 15% to SCLC.

Once diagnosed, a doctor will try to determine how much cancer has spread; this process is known as staging.  Different stages of the disease describe how much cancer is in the body and can help doctors to decide on suitable treatment options.

The staging system most commonly used for NSCLC is the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system.  There are four stages which include:

Stage 1- Cancer is found only in the lungs and has not spread to lymph nodes.

Stage 2 – Cancer is found in the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage 3- Cancer is found in the lungs, lymph nodes, and in the middle of the chest.

Stage 4- Cancer is found in the lungs, fluid in the area around the lungs, as well as other parts of the body and other organs.

The stages of SCLC are based on the results of biopsies, physical exams, imaging tests or any additional form of testing used to determine how far this type of cancer has advanced. Doctors typically use a two-stage system to help them to decide which form of treatment is best.  The stages of SCLC are:

Limited Stage- This is when cancer is found in only one side of the chest and in the lymph nodes above the collarbone – on the same side of the chest.

Extensive Stage- This describes when cancer has spread to lungs, the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Treatment for each type of lung cancer varies by stage.   Typical approaches for NSCLC may include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy or chemotherapy.  Radiation or chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment used for patients diagnosed with SCLC.

Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products contribute greatly to the development of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease.

If you are ready to quit smoking, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center provides a free smoking cessation program. To learn about our Freedom From Smoking program please call, 718-206-8494 or visit www.JamaicaHospital.org.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer, CT

November is recognized as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The importance of this designation is to bring awareness to the fact that Lung Cancer is responsible for more than 25 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer takes more lives each year than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Lung cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. In the early stages there may not be any signs or symptoms. A history of smoking definitely contributes to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease, though non-smokers also can develop lung cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer include:
• A cough that doesn’t get better
• Coughing up blood
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Wheezing
• Hoarseness
• Weight loss that isn’t intentional
It is now recommended that certain patients who are over 55 years of age and have smoked for many years consider screening for lung cancer by doing  a a low dose CAT scan of the lungs. This may detect cancers at an early stage where they may be more curable. It is important to have a conversation with your physician prior to performing a screening CT scan so that the patient understands the pros and cons of screening. For example, many scans will show small nodules (small spots in the lungs) that are not cancerous but will require follow-up and patient’s need to understand this and be prepared for this possibility.
There are several types of lung cancer based on their appearance under the microscope. These include small cell cancer and non-small cell cancer, which  is a group of cancers that includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Testing that can help make the diagnosis of cancer includes chest  x-rays, CT scans,  PET scans, examination of the sputum, bronchoscopy ( a test in which a fiber optic  scope is passed into the lungs), and lung biopsies (which can be done by a needle although sometimes a surgical procedure is required). Not all tests will be required for every patient.
Once the diagnosis is established it is important to determine what stage the cancer is. Factors that go into staging cancer include the size of the tumor itself location and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes in the chest or to other parts of the body such as the brain, liver, bone or adrenal glands.
To schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Facts About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. More people die each year from lung cancer than from colon, prostate ovarian, and breast cancer combined.

Lung cancer

In the early stages there may not be any signs or symptoms. A history of smoking definitely contributes to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease, though non-smokers also can develop lung cancer. Smoking causes cancer by irritating the lining of the lungs. This causes changes in the lung tissue. It is believed that the effects of smoking may be reversible in the very early phases but repeated exposure to the chemicals found in smoke will eventually be irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer include:
• A cough that doesn’t get better
• Coughing up blood
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Wheezing
• Hoarseness
• Headache
• Weight loss that isn’t intentional

If lung cancer is suspected, a few tests to make the diagnosis definitive will be ordered. A chest x-ray will be performed and if there are any lesions found on the lung a CT scan will to get a better view of the lungs. An exam of the sputum can sometimes reveal lung cancer cells and to complete the diagnosis a lung biopsy will be done to examine the cells to see if they are cancerous.

Depending on the stage of the cancer, treatment options vary and can include chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery. A common surgical option is called a lobectomy, removal one of the lobes of the lung.

There is no way to prevent lung cancer, but the best way to reduce your risk is to not smoke. If you do smoke, quit immediately. Also avoid second hand smoke, radon, and harmful carcinogens.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Cancers besides Lung Cancer Linked to Smoking

Cancer

Studies have found that tobacco use is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.

It is common knowledge that lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death among smokers; however, smoking tobacco is also linked to the development of other life-threatening forms of the disease.    Besides lung cancer, tobacco smoke also increases the risk for cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, throat, kidney, mouth and cervix to develop.

It is more likely for cancer to spread throughout the body of a smoker than a non–smoker because:

  1. The toxins found in cigarettes weaken the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight cancer cells and prevent them from growing.
  2. These poisons can alter or damage the DNA of cells. When a cell’s DNA is damaged, it is not able to function properly and can begin to grow out of control.

A smoker can reduce their risk of developing cancer simply by quitting.  Research indicates that within five years of quitting, a person can lower their risk of getting cancer of the bladder, esophagus, and throat by as much as 50 percent.  After ten years of quitting the risk of dying from lung cancer can also be reduced by half.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Jamaica Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”.  Our hospital has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program, for more information call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.