Types and Stages Of Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two major types of lung cancer. About 80 to 85% of diagnosed cases of the disease are attributed to NSCLC and the remaining 10 to 15% to SCLC.

Once diagnosed, a doctor will try to determine how much cancer has spread; this process is known as staging.  Different stages of each disease describe how much cancer is in the body and can help doctors to decide on suitable treatment options.

The staging system most commonly used for NSCLC is the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system.  There are four stages which include:

Stage 1- Cancer is found only in the lungs and has not spread to lymph nodes.

Stage 2 – Cancer is found in the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage 3- Cancer is found in the lungs, lymph nodes, and in the middle of the chest.

Stage 4- Cancer is found in the lungs, fluid in the area around the lungs, as well as other parts of the body and other organs.

The stages of SCLC are based on the results of biopsies, physical exams, imaging tests or any additional form of testing used to determine how far this type of cancer has advanced. Doctors typically use a two-stage system to help them to decide which form of treatment is best.  The stages of SCLC are:

Limited Stage- This is when cancer is found in only one side of the chest and in the lymph nodes above the collarbone – on the same side of the chest.

Extensive Stage- This describes when cancer has spread to lungs, the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Treatment for each type of lung cancer varies by stage.   Typical approaches for NSCLC may include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy or chemotherapy.  Radiation or chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment used for patients diagnosed with SCLC.

Pulmonary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases affecting the lungs. Pulmonary medicine is also sometimes called pulmonology.

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is dedicated to providing outstanding inpatient and outpatient care through the use of certified physicians and modern research.  A variety of conditions are treated and diagnosed in the Pulmonary Department including Lung Cancer, Emphysema, COPD and Asthma.

To schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Lung Cancer and Treatment Options

Lung cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. In the early stages there may not be any signs or symptoms. A history of smoking definitely contributes to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease, though non-smokers also can develop lung cancer. Smoking causes cancer by irritating the lining of the lungs. This causes changes in the lung tissue. It is believed that the effects of smoking may be reversible in the very early phases but repeated exposure to the chemicals found in smoke will eventually be irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t get better
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Weight loss that isn’t intentional

There are two types of lung cancer based on their appearance under the microscope:

Small cell is the most common type of lung cancer and is found in heavy smokers.

Non-small cell is a group of other types of lung cancers that act similarly. This group includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Lung cancer staging

Stage 1

  • The cancer is limited to the lung.
  • Tumor is smaller than 2 inches
  • has not spread to lymph nodes

Stage 2

  • Usually larger than 2 inches
  • Spread to lymph nodes
  • Possible spread to pleura, chest wall and diaphragm

Stage 3

  • Involves spread to other organs
  • Found in distant lymph nodes

 

Stage 4

  • Spread from one lung to another
  • Spread to distant parts of the body

 

If lung cancer is suspected, a few tests to make the diagnosis definitive will be ordered. A chest x-ray will be performed and if there are any lesions found on the lung a CT scan will to get a better view of the lungs. An exam of the sputum can sometimes reveal lung cancer cells and to complete the diagnosis a lung biopsy will be done to examine the cells to see if they are cancerous.

Depending on the stage of the cancer, treatment options vary and can include chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery. A common surgical option is called a lobectomy, removal one of the lobes of the lung.

If you would like to discuss lung cancer and treatment options with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Doctor and senior patient pointing on computerMany people who have smoked tobacco for an extended period of time often wonder if they should get screened for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, if you fall under the category of a “high-risk patient,” it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about receiving lung cancer screening.

Patients who are at a high risk of developing lung cancer are defined as those who:

One of the greatest benefits of screening is it can allow doctors to detect cancer in its early stages, when it is easier to treat and the chance for a cure is greater. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, “screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) resulted in a 20% reduction in lung-cancer mortality,” in high-risk patients (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1301851)

The most recommended and effective tool utilized for lung cancer screening is low-dose computed tomography or low-dose CT scan. It is currently recognized as the only tool that is effective in reducing the risk of lung cancer-related deaths in high-risk patient populations. While effective, there are complications that could result from repeated screenings such as receiving false positive results.

In addition to receiving screenings one of the best things you can do for your lungs’ health as a smoker is to quit smoking.  It is never too late to quit.

If you believe you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, it is important to speak with your doctor about all the risks and benefits. To learn more about lung cancer, please visit www.medisyscares.org or https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer.html.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Top Men’s Health Issues

Men with xray screen showing their organs

It is no secret that men are less vigilant about receiving healthcare than women. In fact a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that men in the United States are 80% less likely than women to visit their doctor’s office regularly and schedule routine medical screenings.

There are several reasons given as to why men steer clear of the doctor’s office and delay treatment-some are, “there is probably nothing wrong” or “I’d rather tough it out.”  This laid-back approach to health care can unfortunately result in shorter or less healthy lives for men, if medical conditions go untreated. The good news is that many of the leading threats to men’s health are preventable and treatable if detected early. Here are few chronic health conditions that affect men the most:

 

  1. Cardiovascular disease also known as heart disease is one of the leading health risks facing men today. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than one in three adult men has heart disease. Although it may seem that something so serious should have warning signs, one may be developing heart disease without knowing it. Luckily, there are many lifestyle changes that can be made to ward off heart disease, such as not smoking, following a heart-smart diet, and being physically active.

 

  1. Lung cancer is one of the few cancers that can often be prevented simply by not smoking. Men who are at high risk for developing lung cancer may want to talk to a health care provider about quitting smoking- if they are smokers and getting yearly low-dose CT scans to test for early lung cancer.

 

  1. Prostate cancer is typically found in men over the age of 65. The chance of getting prostate cancer increases as a man gets older. For reasons that are still unknown, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than other races. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a high risk for developing the disease.

 

  1. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes found in men. It affects approximately 95% of the 13 million men with the disease in the United States. Type 2 diabetes affects the body’s ability to use insulin properly. This can elevate sugar levels and cause damage to the body over time.

 

The first step to staying healthy is educating yourself, and then taking the necessary precautions to reduce your risk. It is equally as important to develop a relationship with your healthcare provider.  Your doctor can create a health care plan to screen, diagnose and treat diseases that you may at be risk for developing.

To schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, please call the Ambulatory Care Center at Flushing Hospital at 718-670-5486.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.