Health Blogs

Lung Cancer – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Overall incidence is 1.8million which constitutes almost 12.9% of total new cases. Almost 58% of these cases are detected in less developed countries. Lung cancer is estimated to be responsible for nearly 1in 5(1.59 million deaths, 19.4% of total )of all cancer-related deaths, which is highest and far greater than death caused by breast, colon, prostate cancer combined. Unfortunately in most of the cases patients present in late stage, but if detected early, lung cancer can be cured.

Important points for Lung Cancer:

  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy is the best option for the patient presenting at an early stage.
  • One of the modality to detect lung cancer in the early stage is low dose CT-Scan.
  • Any person age >55yrs who has a history of smoking one or more packet cigarette daily for more than 30yrs, even if they had quit smoking for less than 15 yrs, should undergo screening with low dose CT-Scan for  3 consecutive years.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer:

Patients having symptoms should consult a cancer specialist or lung specialist at the earliest.

  • A non-relieving cough along with dryness for more than 2 weeks
  • Fever
  • Chest pain and hemoptysis (coughing of blood originating from the respiratory tract )
  • Frequent respiratory infections, shortness of breath, or wheezing
  • Fatigue or loss of appetite
  • Chest discomfort, hoarseness, or weight loss

Treatment of Lung Cancer:

There are multiple modalities of treatment available which include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and Immunotherapy.

Treatment option depends on the stage of disease and fitness of the patients.

  • For early stage ( I and II ) lung cancer, surgery is curative.Surgical option varies from segmentectomy, lobectomy or pneumonectomy with systemic lymph node dissection.
  • Stage III cancer is usually managed with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  • Stage IV cancer requires palliative chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is better and easy option in a selective group of patients with EGFR or ALK4 mutation positive but it is slightly expensive.

The intent of treatment in stage IV disease is not curative as the disease is already progressed, so it is advisable to judiciously utilize patients and medical resources.