November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month but anytime is a good time to talk about preventing this terrible disease. Lung cancer is massive problem in healthcare. It is the most common cause of death from cancer but early diagnosis and the right treatments can make a difference.
Lung cancer starts when the cells of the lung become abnormal and begin to grow out of control. Uncontrolled growth leads to a tumor, which can spread to other areas of the body. Usually, there are no symptoms until it has grown rather significantly. It is a complex problem that should be managed by a well-experienced multi-specialty team. There are two main types of lung cancer; about 80% to 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and about 10% to 15% are small cell lung cancer (SCLC). These types of lung cancer are treated very differently and this will explore the more common type. Adenocarcinomas, squamous cell (epidermoid) and large cell (undifferentiated) carcinomas are the major subtypes of non-small cell lung cancers which although start from different type of lung cells, are grouped together because the approach to their treatment and prognosis (outlook) are often similar.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2017 are: about 222,500 new cases of lung cancer (116,990 in men and 105,510 women) and about 155,870 deaths from lung cancer (84,590 in men and 71,280 in women). Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women (excluding skin cancer). About 14% of all new cancers are lung cancers with most occurring in older people. Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer is his lifetime is about 1 in 14; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17. About 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. Each year, more people die from lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined. Although it’s the top cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., it’s also one of the most preventable. Prevention starts with not smoking and avoiding other people’s secondhand smoke.
Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. About 80% of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking. The longer you smoke and the more packs a day you smoke, the greater the risk. Even if you don’t smoke, breathing in the smoke of others (called secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is thought to cause more than 7,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. There are a few other risk factors that are much more uncommon. Exposure to radon, asbestos, diesel exhaust and other industrial chemicals has been linked to increased lung cancer rates. In cities, air pollution (especially near heavily trafficked roads) appears to raise the risk of lung cancer slightly.
Patient care is individualized based upon the stage of the cancer and other factors, which can include:
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
Treatments plans should be developed by a well-experienced multi-specialty team not only addressing the stage of the cancer, but also the needs of the patient. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers have assembled nationally accredited, board certified, cancer specialists from the leading university medical centers across the United States to provide cutting edge, comprehensive cancer care in neighborhoods throughout the greater Phoenix region. The well-experienced multi-specialty team includes: radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, oncology nursing, nutritionists, social workers and alliances with thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists and patient’s primary care providers working together to outsmart cancer one patient at a time.
To learn more about lung cancer treatment options contact Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers at 480-821-2838.