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Lung Cancer

A cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke.

Two major types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Causes of lung cancer include smoking, secondhand smoke, exposure to certain toxins, and family history. Symptoms include cough (often with blood), chest pain, wheezing, and weight loss. These symptoms often don't appear until the cancer is advanced. Treatments vary but may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy.



Symptoms

Requires a medical diagnosis

Symptoms include cough (often with blood), chest pain, wheezing, and weight loss.

These symptoms often don't appear until the cancer is advanced.

People may experience:

  • Pain areas: in the chest or rib
  • Cough: can be chronic, dry, with phlegm, or with blood Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite, or weakness
  • Respiratory: frequent respiratory infections, shortness of breath, or wheezing
  • Also common: hoarseness, swollen lymph nodes, or weight loss treatments

Treatment depends on stage Treatments vary but may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy.

Self-care

Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking tobacco.

Medications

Chemotherapy: Kills cells that are growing or multiplying too quickly.

  • Methotrexate (Trexall and Rasuvo)
  • Gefitinib (Iressa)
  • Docetaxel-Gemcitabine regimen
  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ and Platinol)
  • Pemetrexed (Alimta)
  • Bevacizumab (Avastin)
  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Doxorubicin (Doxil and Adriamycin)
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere and Docefrez)
  • Etoposide (Etopophos and Toposar)
  • Vinblastine
  • Erlotinib (Tarceva)
  • Irinotecan (Camptosar)
  • Paclitaxel (Abraxane)
  • Crizotinib (Xalkori)
  • Topotecan (Hycamtin)
  • Ifosfamide (Ifex)

Surgery

Pulmonary lobectomy: Surgical removal of a part (lobe) of a lung.

Wedge resection: Surgical removal of a triangular piece of tissue from the lung.

Video-Assisted thoracoscopic surgery: Surgery using a tiny camera inserted in the chest through a small cut. Allows doctors to see inside the chest and lungs without making a big opening.

Medical procedure

Thoracotomy: A large surgical opening in the chest that provides access to the throat, heart, and lungs.

Radiation therapy: Treatment that uses x-rays and other high-energy rays to kill abnormal cells.

Supportive care

Palliative care: Works to improve quality of life while adjusting or recovering from a serious illness.

Specialists

Oncologist: Specializes in cancer.

Palliative medicine: Focuses on improving quality of life for those with severe illnesses.

Pulmonologist: Treats respiratory tract diseases.

Cardiothoracic surgeon: Surgically treats diseases affecting organs inside the chest.

Primary care provider (PCP): Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases.

Consult a doctor for medical advice


Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information isn't medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or a emergency number immediately.

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