How Lung Cancer Is Diagnosed and Treated
Lung cancer is an illness that causes lung cells to divide more quickly, resulting in abnormal growths in the lung tissue. These tumors can obstruct your breathing. Confirming if you have this type of cancer and knowing the possible treatments for it can motivate you to fight it. If you want to know more about the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, read on to learn more.
An overview of lung cancer
Individuals with a high risk of lung cancer must have cancer screening with low-dose CT scans. Older adults who have quit smoking in the last 15 years will need this screening. Those who have smoked multiple packs a day in the last 15 years or so will also qualify for this cancer screening. Talking about an individual’s lung cancer risk can clarify whether the person is, indeed, a good candidate for cancer screening.
Testing for lung cancer
An individual may not know that they already have lung cancer. A random lab test may cause a doctor to become suspicious of cancer. The physician may recommend some diagnostic tests if the patient shows signs of lung cancer. Some tests can rule out other ailments as well. Below are some of the tests the doctor may order:
- Sputum cytology is a test involving the analysis of a patient’s sputum. The sputum is looked at under a microscope. This may sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells.
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays, can be used to closely observe the patient’s lungs. This diagnostic exam can show the doctor if there is a nodule or mass in the patient’s lungs. A CT scan can show the small lesions in the lungs that an X-ray may not be able to detect.
- A biopsy is a test involving the analysis of a tissue sample taken from the patient’s body. For lung cancer, the doctor can study the different parts of the lungs using a long, narrow tube with a light source. This tube will pass through the throat and down into the lungs. Taking samples of the patient’s lymph nodes is also possible for a biopsy. Studying the cell samples in the lungs can help the doctor see if the patient has cancer. The different tests can also help classify cancerous cells.
Testing for the stage of the cancer
After the lung cancer diagnosis, the doctor will then start working to find out the stage of cancer. Finding out at what stage the cancer is can help the doctor formulate the right treatment plan. This type of diagnostic testing is called a staging test. This type of test includes bone scans, PET (positron emission tomography), CT, and MRI.
The attending doctor will determine which test is the most appropriate one for the patient. The lowest stage of cancer tells the doctor that the tumor is still confined to the lungs. At stage IV, cancer has already reached different parts of the body.
Lung cancer treatments
The patient and the doctor can choose which treatment is the most appropriate for the patient. The oncologist will consider factors such as the patient’s preference and general health. Looking at the cancer stage and cancer type is important as well. Here are the common lung cancer treatments to consider:
This type of care involves targeting the symptoms and signs of cancer. Its goal is to help keep the patient comfortable. Patients who receive palliative care experience an improved quality of life. It also enhances their mood.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Radiation therapy applies protons and X-rays to areas of the body that have cancer. The oncologist may perform this therapy before or after the surgery. This type of therapy may be done in conjunction with chemotherapy.
This lung cancer treatment aims to remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. It may involve the removal of the tumor and part of the lung. The doctor will remove a small part of the lung that has cancer. It may be a bigger part of the lobe or the entire lobe of the lung. In severe cases, the doctor may need to remove one lung.
The bottom line
A consultation with your doctor can determine whether you may have lung cancer and if so, what the extent of the condition is. This will lead to the formulation of the right treatment plan. Keeping the communication open between you and your oncologist can help make your treatment journey smooth.
Get more information about Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center in Marlton at https://lindenbergcancer.com.
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