You will not be able to find the right course of treatment for lung cancer until you have been diagnosed, and the type of lung cancer you have has been identified. Many people think of lung cancer as being one condition, but there are actually more than one varieties of this serious medical condition.
In your search to find the right treatment for your condition you must first identify the symptoms of cancer that you are experiencing. These symptoms will alert your medical team to the probability of which of the two main types of cancer of the lungs you may be suffering from.
Seek medical treatment if you experience the following symptoms, especially if you experience more than one of these symptoms at a time.
• Respiratory infections like bronchitis that keep recurring
• A raspy cough that may, or may not, have streaks of blood in the mucous
• Periods of hoarseness
• Shortness of breath
• Persistent chest pains, especially if these are accompanied by wheezing
• Swelling in the neck or face
• Loss of weight that is unexplained
• pain or weakness in the shoulder, the arm, or the hand
• trouble swallowing
• severe headaches
• intermittent fever
When you are experiencing these symptoms you will need to seek medical consultation with your doctor. The doctor will probably order standard chest x-rays to start the diagnostic procedures. This type of cancer generally has no symptoms until one of the breathing passages becomes blocked, or until the cancer has begun to spread to other areas of the body.
Bronchogenic carcinomas are broadly classified into two types of cancers. The small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and the non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLS). The SCLC is the type of cancer you see as a result of smoking. Only 1% of the people who have SCLC were people who did not smoke cigarettes. SCLC is a form of cancer that quickly spreads throughout the body, and most of the time people do not discover that they have the condition until it has metastasized in their body.
NSCLC accounts for about 80% of all diagnosed cases of bronchogenic carcinoma. There are three different types of NSCLC. The most common of these three is the adenocarcinomas. This type of bronchogenic carcinoma occurs in smokers and in non-smokers. Women who are diagnosed with bronchogenic carcinomas are likely to have adenocarcinomas. These usually start on the peripheral portion of the lungs, and they quickly spread to the lymph nodes.
Squamous carcinomas were once more common than the adenocarcinomas, and today about 30% of the cases of bronchogenic carcinomas are squamous. This particular type generally stays within the lung, then spreads to the lymph nodes. It is known to grow quite large and to form a cavity.
The large cell carcinomas only occur in about 10% of the patients diagnosed with brocogenic carcinoma. This type is very quick to spread into the lymph nodes of the body.
There are instances of bronchial carcinoids appearing in the lungs as tumors of less than 4cm. This only occurs in about 5% of the diagnosed cases of lung cancer.