General Illness Information
Lung Cancer (Bronchogenic Carcinoma)
Medical Term: None Specified
Description: A highly malignant primary lung tumor that accounts for most cases of lung cancer and has a very poor prognosis.
It is the second most common cancer in men (13%) and the third most common cancer in women (13%). It is the leading cause of cancer death among men (32%) and women (25%), and its incidence appears to be rising more rapidly among women. It is most common between the ages of 45 and 70.
Causes: Cigarette smoking, relationship to second-hand smoke.
A small proportion of lung cancers (15% in men and 5% in women) are related to occupational agents, often overlapping with smoking:
- chloromethyl ethers,
- mustard (poison war) gas, and coke oven emissions.
The exact role of air pollution is uncertain.
Prevention: Don’t smoke. Because tumors don’t develop for a long time, smokers can stop at any time and greatly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. This is the single most important preventive measure.
Signs & Symptoms
- Persistent cough.
- Blood tinged sputum or coughing up frank blood.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Chest pain, shortness of breath.
- Weight loss.
- Shoulder, arm, or bone pain.
Sometimes the cancer is diagnosed on routine examination, and the patient has no or minimal symptoms.
Symptoms and signs are dependent upon the location and spread of the tumor.
- Exposure to agents listed above.
- Adults over the age of 60.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnostic tests may include laboratory blood and sputum studies, X-rays, bronchoscopy, biopsy (removal of a small amount of tissue or fluid for laboratory examination), CT scan, MRI and pulmonary function studies.
- Treatment steps will be determined by the extent of the spread of the disease.
- Surgery to remove all of the lung (pneumonectomy) or part of the lung (lobectomy) may be recommended if cancer is at an early stage.
- The treatment options depend upon TNM staging of the disease.
- Radiation may be recommended.
- The use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stages II, IIIA, and IIIB non-small cell carcinoma is promising. When administered before surgery in stage II or IIIA and before definitive radiation therapy in stage IIIA or IIIB, neoadjuvant chemotherapy can significantly reduce tumor burden and improve disease-free and overall survival.
- Chemotherapy with multiple drugs, particularly cisplatin and topoisomerase inhibitors–with or without radiation therapy–has yielded higher survival rates than surgery has in patients with small cell carcinoma; cures are rare . Some improved results with drugs have been reported, but studies to determine the most effective chemotherapeutic combination for bronchogenic carcinoma are ongoing.
- Pain killers, including narcotic analgesics, for palliation.
Activity as tolerated and advised by physician.
Possible Complications :
- Destructive spread to other organs, including the brain, liver, bones.
- Fluid collection around the lung. (Pleural effusion)
- Lung collapse.
- Pathological (Spontaneous) fractures in case of spread to bones.
Without surgery, this condition is currently considered incurable. Early diagnosis is critical.
Only 25% of tumors can be removed surgically. Recurrence is common. However, symptoms can be relieved or controlled. The survival rate after 5 years is less than 10%.