How many different types of lung cancer is there

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer develops slowly; it can be present for 10 to 20 years without causing noticeable symptoms. The most common symptoms a cough, a wheeze, or an ache are easy to ignore. It is especially easy for a heavy smoker to ignore them, since smoker's cough and shortness of breath are often a way of life for a long time smoker. The cough is usually the result of a growing cancer blocking an airway and is the attempt of the body to get rid of a foreign object stuck in the lung. In some cases, the sputum coughed up contains streaks of blood. Chest pains, usually resulting in a persistent ache, can be early symptoms, as are recurring attacks of pneumonia or bronchitis. Persistent shoulder and arm pains can also sometimes signal the presence of lung cancer.

Those Most Likely to Get Lung Cancer 

• Age 50-64 and live in a city

• Have smoked one or more packs a day for 20 years or longer and or began to smoke before age 20 and still smoking

• Smoke and work in an industrial plant with high risk materials (such as asbestos)

• Have a persistent or violent smoker's cough

• Don't smoke but have had a violent cough for more than 2 weeks

• Have a nagging chest pain unrelated to cough

• Breathe with a wheezing sound

• Have noticed blood in sputum even once

• Have had a change in color or volume of sputum

Symptoms of Lung Cancer 

• A smoker's cough which has become persistent or violent

• A nonsmoker whose cough hangs on for more than 2 weeks

• A chest pain that is persistent and unrelated to a cough

• A wheezing sound in your breathing

• Bloodstained sputum

• Change in color or volume of sputum

 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

• What are my chances for cure?

• Is the operation worth the pain and discomfort?

• Has the cancer spread outside the lungs?

• If I am not operated on, what other treatment do you suggest?

• Is my other lung in good enough condition so that I can still function fairly normally after the diseased lung is removed?

 • How limited will I be in my activity?

• Will I need radiation therapy?

• Will you prescribe chemotherapy?

• How long will it be before I regain my strength?

• Do I have small-cell (or oat-cell) carcinoma?

What kind of doctor should I see if I have symptoms of lung cancer? 

Usually the internist or general physician will refer you to a surgeon. It is important that he be a thoracic surgeon and one who specializes in lung diseases.

Is the National Cancer Institute supporting any studies on lung cancer? 

The National Cancer Institute's clinical cooperative groups are presently studying new treatment methods.

What are the lungs? 

The lungs are two spongy, pinkish gray organs that take up much of the room inside the chest. They enfold the other organs of the chest such as the heart, the large blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, and the esophagus (tube carrying food from mouth to stomach). The left lung has two lobes or sections. It is smaller than the right lung because the heart takes up some of the space on the left side of the chest. The right lung has three lobes and is a little bigger than the left one.

How does the air get into the lungs? 

Air passes through the mouth or nose into the windpipe (trachea). The windpipe divides into two tubes called the left bronchus and the right bronchus. These large bronchi are about the size of a man's little finger. They divide into ever smaller branched tubes like the branches of a tree and lead to the several lobes of the lungs. These air passages get smaller and smaller until they are only 1/100 inch across.

How do the lungs work? 

The lungs bring needed oxygen into the body and expel carbon dioxide. The bloodstream brings the oxygen to the cells, which need it to carry out their work and stay alive. When we inhale, air enters the lungs through the bronchi. Cells of the lung are self cleaning. Certain cells that line the bronchi produce mucus to wash out foreign materials. Other cells, which are equipped with tiny hairs, called cilia, sweep the mucus toward the throat. Impurities are carried away into the bloodstream or lymph system by other cells.

Where does lung cancer start? 

Most lung cancers begin in the bronchi (the larger air tubes) or the bronchioles (the smaller tubes branching off the bronchi) in the moist mucous layer of the breathing tubes. Some cancer researchers think that 20 or more years may pass between the time someone is first exposed to a cancerproducing substance such as tobacco smoke and the time cancer actually develops.

Are there different kinds of lung cancer? 

There are thirteen different kinds. The most common are squamous cell (also known as epidermoid or spindle cell), adenocarcinoma, large cell, and adenosquamous. Small cell carcinoma (also known as oat cell) is usually treated differently from the other types. These types make up over 90 percent of all lung cancer. They are named for the different cell types found in the tumors when looked at under the microscope.

Lung cancer types | Respiratory system diseases

Are all kinds of lung cancer treated the same way? 

No. There are different forms of treatment, depending on the cell type, on the extent of the disease, and on the way the disease responds to the treatment. Small-cell (oat-cell) carcinoma calls for a different form of treatment than do the other cell types.

Understanding Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 

What is small cell or oat cell cancer, and why is it treated differently? 

Small cell or oat cell carcinoma is a very fast growing variety of lung cancer. Major advances in treatment of this type of lung cancer have been made, using chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The tumor is highly sensitive to these treatments. Ifyou have this type ofcancer, you should either be treated at a major medical center or be certain that your doctor contacts someone at one of the cancer treatment centers who is using the latest treatments.


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