Everything you need to know about Lung Cancer

Lungs are the two balloon-like organs located within the rib cage. They take in oxygen from the air and release it in the blood while releasing carbon dioxide in the air. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death among cancers. It begins in the lungs, mostly due to reasons such as cigarette smoking and exposure to radiation.

Having mentioned that, people who haven’t smoked too, can be detected with lung cancer. Chances increase with the higher number of cigarettes you’ve smoked. A number of questions can arise when it comes to lung cancer.

Dr. Satvik Khaddar, MBBS, MD Medicine, DM Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, European Certified Medical Oncologist, Member- ASCO, ESMO, ISMPO, Consultant – Medical Oncologist at SRJ-CBCC Cancer Hospital at Indore helps us know better about the same. (https://cbccusa.in/dr-satvik-khaddar/)

Q-What are the common symptoms of lung cancer!
A- Symptoms of lung cancer vary among different individuals. Many people do not have symptoms in early stages and get diagnosed while undergoing Xray chest or CT scan of chest for a different reason. The most common symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough not going away or getting worse, coughing up blood, chest pain or shoulder pain, tiredness, unexplained weight loss in the last few months, shortness of breath. change in voice and bone pain not relieved or getting worse.

Q-What are the risk factors for lung cancer?
A-Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. A smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer is 10 to 30 times greater than a non-smoker. Even second hand smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Apart from this, exposure to high doses of radiation, industrial exposure to certain metals and chemicals also increase the risk.

Q-What are the tests to be done for diagnosis of lung cancer?
A- Initial diagnosis is made on a Xray or CT scan of the chest. PETCT may be advised to know whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. A biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue) is needed to examine under the microscope and confirm the diagnosis. Nowadays, advanced testing for DNA mutations on biopsy samples are done to determine use of targeted therapies and immunotherapy.

Q-Who treats lung cancer?
A- A team of doctors is required to plan the treatment. A Surgical Oncologist or Thoracic Surgeon performs surgery, Radiation Oncologist treat with radiotherapy and a Medical Oncologist specialises in giving chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Q- What are the treatment options for lung cancer?
A- The treatment advised for each case depends on the site of tumour in lung, type of tumour, stage of the cancer and general condition of the patient. Early-stage lung cancer is usually treated by surgery. Patients may require chemotherapy after surgery, known as adjuvant chemotherapy, depending on the microscopic examination of the operated tumor. Advanced stages of cancer may require a combination of all three modalities of treatment. Stage 4 cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy depending on the type of lung cancer and mutation analysis on the biopsy sample.

Q. How to prevent or reduce the risk of having lung cancer!
A- Lung cancer risk can be decreased by quitting consumption of all forms of tobacco including cigarettes. bidi and chewing tobacco. Proper counseling, nicotine replacement products and medicines help in tobacco de addiction. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables also helps in reducing cancer risk in general. Always consult your oncologist for proper guidance if you think you are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

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