The second leading cancer in both men and women is LUNG CANCER. According to the American Cancer Society’s Statistics, there will be 228,150 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed and 142,670 deaths from lung cancer this year alone. Despite these grim statistics, nearly 430,000 people have at some point in their lives been diagnosed with lung cancer, and yet they are alive and well with zero remission. This is predominantly because their cancers were caught early through lung cancer screenings.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.
• Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type, affecting nearly 85% of those with lung cancer. Fortunately, this form of carcinoma usually grows at a slower rate. There are three subsets that makeup NSCLC: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
• Small Cell or Oat Cell Cancer affects nearly 10% of the lung cancer population and spreads very rapidly.
The stereotype that often coincides with a lung cancer diagnosis is that patients are assumed to have smoked — smokers are of course at higher risk of developing lung cancer. But the stark reality is that in many cases, lung cancer diagnoses are given to patients who have never smoked a day in their lives.
Non-smokers who have lung cancer are usually identified as those that have been exposed to environmental carcinogens like cleaning products, diesel exhaust, radon gas, asbestos or those with genetic mutations. Research suggests that screening a high-risk population for lung cancer can drastically reduce the number of mortalities from this disease.
Although nicotine is a tough drug to quit, if you or someone you know smokes, it’s critical to stop now. Many smokers have strong habits associated with tobacco use. For example, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee after a meal. As with most addictions, it is not uncommon for a smoker to quit multiple times before being successful. The important thing is to not give up hope. It is possible to quit, and there are many resources to help, including QuitNowKentucky.org (1-800-QUIT-NOW), sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
CT Scan Screening
CT scans of the chest are advantageous in identifying and screening for lung cancers, and new low-dose CT scans can detect tiny masses in the lungs. If lung cancers are found in the early stages, the treatment options and outcomes are much more successful, and an individual’s survival rate may be significantly improved.
Lung cancer screenings are crucial for smokers and former smokers, especially those 55-75 years of age due to the prevalence of lung cancer seen in this population. The screenings are also vital for individuals exposed to carcinogens or those who show signs and symptoms of lung disorders.
Given the advantages of having lung screenings with CT scans, due to the higher resolution and ability to detect very tiny cancer cells, there is a proven reduction in lung cancer-related deaths compared to those patients who are tested with X-rays.
Secondary Lung Cancer Risks
Recurrence of cancer is cancer that returns after treatment, but second cancer happens when survivors develop a new unconnected cancer. According to the America Cancer Society, “Cancers Linked to Radiation Treatment Lung Cancer: The risk of lung cancer is higher in women who had radiation therapy after a mastectomy as part of their treatment. The risk does not seem to be increased in women who have radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy. The increased risk is first seen about 10 years after radiation and increases over time. The risk is even higher in women who smoke.”
Unfortunately, secondary cancers can develop in numerous types of cancers. If you have had cancer before and you are having symptoms, getting a lung cancer screening is imperative.
Treatment & Recovery
Depending on the stage and type of lung cancer, there are several treatment options. These include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy. Early detection is imperative for survival rates, health impacts and recovery.
A Cancer-Free Future
A future without lung cancer starts here. It starts now. The pulmonary specialists and primary care physicians at Lexington Clinic can help. Call Lexington Clinic at (859) 258-4000 or visit LexingtonClinic.com to explore your options for lung cancer screening, smoking cessation or any aspect of lung health.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky’s largest and oldest medical group. With 200+ providers in more than 30 specialties, they have cared for 600,000+ patients annually in the Lexington community since 1920.
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Lexington, KY 40504
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Lexington, KY 40509
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Nicholasville, KY 40356
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