Lung Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment

Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Down Syndrome
October 6, 2017

Lung Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

lung cancer

Like prostate cancer, a frightening and typical characteristic of lung cancer is that symptoms are seldom evident until the more advanced stages of the disease. To further complicate symptoms of the disease, the symptoms are often related similar to less serious conditions such as a cold.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, hoarseness, and headache. Other symptoms are different from common cold symptoms and may include coughing up blood, bone pain, and unexpected weight loss (Mayo Clinic).

Treatment of Lung Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute there are nine general treatment types for breast cancer, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, cryosurgery, electrocautery, and watchful waiting.

Surgical treatment involves physically removing the cancerous cells, and can be done in a variety of ways. Wedge resection surgery removes the cancerous region of tissue, and portions of the healthy tissue around the affected region. Lobectomy describes surgery which removes an entire section, or lobe of the lung. Pneumonectomy is surgery for advanced stages of cancer, where an entire lung is removed. The type of surgery used is determined by the extent to which the cancer has spread throughout the lung. Other treatments may be recommended to coincide with surgery (National cancer Institute).

Lung Cancer Therapies

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation such as X-ray to destroy the cancerous cells before they can spread. The type of radiation used depends greatly on the stage of the cancer. Drugs can also be used to destroy cancer cells or cease their division. The use of drugs to fight cancer is known as chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can use drugs generally by placing them in the blood stream, which will flow to the affected cancer area, or by directly injected drugs into the affected region (National Cancer Institute).

Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses substances that are proven to inhibit cancer cells. These substances, such as antibodies often developed specifically for cancer destruction, are targeted to the site of the cancerous region. This therapy is designed to limit the harmful destruction of normal cells while trying to destroy cancerous cells. Many cancer treatments inadvertently destroy healthy portions of the body while trying to target cancer cells. Targeted therapy tries to limit this effect of cancer treatment (National Cancer Institute).

Other treatments of lung cancer may include laser therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), cryosurgery, and electrosautery. Laser therapy, as its name indicates, involves the use of a laser beam to kill cancer cells. PDT therapy involves the combination of laser therapy and a particular drug that is activated by laser light. This treatment allows a drug to kill cancerous cells only when activated by the laser treatment, which decreases the destruction of normal, healthy cells during the treatment.

Cryosurgery destroys cancer cells by freezing abnormal tissue. Electrocautery surgery takes the opposite approach and uses electricity to heat a probe, which burns the cancer cells. Watchful waiting may also be used in the treatment of lung cancer, which involves carefully monitoring a patient and hoping for natural recovery (National cancer Institute).