Lung Cancer: Signs and Symptoms, Types and Treatment

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New Delhi: Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers around the world. This cancer starts in the lungs and then spreads to other parts of the body. According to Mayo Clinic, it is also one of the leading causes of cancer deaths around the world. Any individual can develop lung cancer, however, people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing the deadly disease. If one can quit smoking, the risks of developing lung cancer can be reduced considerably.

One might not notice the early symptoms of the disease because they are extremely subtle, however, the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the easier and better your treatment will be. Therefore, if you start to notice something unusual, make sure that you get yourself checked and also, consult a doctor.

What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

When the disease is in its early stage, one might not notice any symptoms, however, with the progress of the disease, there starts to show some sort of signs and symptoms. Here, take a look at some of the early symptoms of lung cancer.

  1. Lingering cough
  2. Coughing blood or phlegm
  3. Chest pain when you breathe deeply or laugh
  4. Wheezing
  5. Hoarseness
  6. Fatigue
  7. Weight loss
  8. Loss of appetite

Recurring respiratory infections

Back pain; this pain usually occurs when tumours add pressure to your lungs
However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms start to change and depending on the stage, you might start to notice the following symptoms of lung cancer when it reaches its advanced stages.

  1. Headaches
  2. Dizziness
  3. Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  4. Problem in balance
  5. Lumps in the neck and/or collarbone
  6. Numbness in arms and/or legs
  7. Pain in the bones especially in the back, ribs, or hips
  8. Pain in the shoulder
  9. Swelling of the face and upper body

What are the types of lung cancer?

There are different types of lung cancer and it depends on what type of cancer cells one develops. There are two major types of lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). However, some people might as well develop tumours that have both kinds of cells.

Non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC: In most cases, people develop this type of lung cancer. If detected early, NSCLC responds well to treatments. Here are a few types of NSCLC.

  • Squamous cell lung carcinoma: Most of the cases of NSCLC starts in the cells of the passages of the respiratory tract which are called squamous cells. This condition is known as squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Adenocarcinomas: In this type of cancer, the cancerous cells usually develop in the outer parts of the lungs. Adenocarcinoma in situ or AIS is a rare condition that develops in the tiny air sacs of the lungs. However, AIS is not aggressive and it might not require immediate treatment.
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma: In this type of cancer, the cancerous cells usually develops in the squamous cells as well as the mucus-producing cells.
  • Large cell carcinoma: This is a fast-growing type of NSCLC and this can’t be classified under other types.

Small-cell lung cancer or SCLC: This is a rare form of cancercompared to that of NSCLC and it is a more aggressive form of cancer. There isn’t any possible treatment for this type of cancer other than chemotherapy.

Mesothelioma: This type of cancer is usually associated with asbestos exposure. The cancer is aggressive and fast-growing and also doesn’t respond to treatments. Mesothelioma starts when carcinoid tumours develop in the hormone-producing or neuroendocrine cells.

What are the treatments for lung cancer?

Depending on the stage of the cancer, your doctor will prescribe you treatments for the same. However, the primary objective of the treatment will be to remove the tumour and then chemotherapy and radiation to kill the cancer cells. If you’re detected with NSCLC, your treatment will vary depending on the stage of the cancer.

  1. Stage 1 NSCLC: In this, surgery is used to remove a part of the lungs and then, your doctor might recommend you chemotherapy and the condition is usually treatable if detected at this stage.
  2. Stage 2 NSCLC: If detected at this stage, you will likely be recommended surgery to remove a part of the lungs or all of your lungs. Usually, chemotherapy is recommended after the surgery.
  3. Stage 3 NSCLC: At this stage of NSCLC, you will likely need a combination of surgery, chemotherapy as well as radiation treatment.
  4. Stage 4 NSCLC: Treatment options at this stage includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

On the other hand, treatment options for SCLC includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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