Lung Cancer ~Bri Hearn




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Statistics:
  • 14.7% of all men who had cancer in the UK in 2008 were diagnosed with lung cancer
  • 11.6% of all women who had cancer in the UK in 2008 were diagnosed with lung cancer
  • Approximately 14% of people in the United States diagnosed with lung cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis
  • Approximately 15% of people with lung cancer are nonsmokers
  • 80.4% of lung cancers are non-small-cell lung carcinomas
  • 16.8% of lung cancers are small-cell lung carcinomas

Facts Abut Lung Cancer:
  • Most common cancer-related death in both men and women
  • The most common cause is long-term exposure to tobacco smoke
  • It is possible to develop lung cancer from second-hand smoke, even if you do not smoke
  • Two main types of lung cancer
- Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) à Usually begins in the primary and secondary bronchi; very malignant
- Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) à Usually starts near a central bronchus
  • Small-cell lung cancer is usually most effectively treated by chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer is usually most effectively treated by surgery.

Stages of Lung Cancer:
  • Stage 0- Cancer is limited to the air passage lining and has not invaded the lung tissue.
  • Stage I- Cancer is contained in the lung tissues and has not metastasized to the lymph nodes or beyond.
  • Stage II- Cancer has metastasized to the sentinel lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIA- Cancer metastasized to the auxiliary lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIB- Cancer has metastasized to areas within the chest region, such as the trachea, blood vessels, heart, and esophagus.
  • Stage IV- Cancer has metastasized outside of the lung to distant parts of the body, such as the brain, liver, or bones.

Stage IV Diagram
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Causes:
  • Smoking
  • Radon gas
  • Asbestos
  • Viruses
  • Particulate matter

Diagnosis and Treatment:

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  • Chest x-ray
- Most common first diagnostic step
- Reveals suspicious areas in the lungs, but are unable to determine if the areas are cancerous

  • CT scans
- Used when chest x-rays do not show an abnormality or do not yield sufficient information about the extent of a tumor
-Performed on the chest, abdomen, or brain
- Combine multiple images (with help from a computer) to generate cross-sectional views of the body
- More sensitive in detecting lung nodules

  • Low-dose helical CT scan
- Effective in identifying lung cancer in smokers and former smokers

  • MRI
- Used when the precise detail about the tumor’s location is needed
- Uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to create pictures of body structures
-Can detect tiny changes of structures within the lung

  • PET scan
- Uses short-lived radioactive drugs to create 3-D colored images of substances in the tissues of the lung
- Measure metabolic activity and the function of tissues
- Determines whether a tumor tissue is actively growing

  • Bone scans
- Creates images of bones on a computer
-Determines whether a lung cancer has metastasized to the bones

  • Sputum cytology
- Examination of the septum under a microscope
- Visualization of tumor cells for diagnosis (if a tumor has invaded the airways and is centrally located)
- Least risky
- Least expensive diagnostic procedure
- Limited value since tumor cells are not always present in the septum when there is cancer

  • Bronchoscopy
- Examination of the airways
- Reveals areas of tumor that can be sampled for diagnosis by a pathologist
- People with a tumor located in the central area of the lung usually use this technique

  • Needle biopsy
- Retrieves cells for diagnosis of lung tumors
- Typically used when the tumor is on the periphery of the lungs and is not accessible by bronchoscopy
- Generally accurate when the affected tissue is adequately sampled, but adjacent or uninvolved areas of the lung could be mistakenly sampled
- Small risk of an air leak

  • Thoracentesis
- Sample of fluid in the space between the lungs and chest wall
- May reveal whether a person has lung cancer

  • Major surgical procedures
- Used when none of the other diagnostic methods yield an accurate diagnosis

  • Radiation
- High-energy rays directed at the specific cancer site in the lung
- Typically used before or after surgery

  • Chemotherapy
- Series of drugs that circulate via the blood
- Kill rapidly growing cells

  • Blood Tests
- Alone, they cannot diagnose lung cancer
- Reveal biochemical or metabolic abnormalities, which often accompany caner


Signs and Symptoms:
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss (cachexia)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hoarse voice (dysphonia)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Chest pains
  • Wheezing
  • Clubbing of the fingernails

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Risk Reduction:
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not spend a significant amount of time in polluted environments
  • Breathe clean air
  • Avoid second-hand smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Go to doctor’s appointments regularly
  • Exercise regularly

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Vocabulary:

Radon gas- Colorless and odorless gas that can cause cancerous mutations

Asbestos- A set of silicate minerals that can cause lung cancer if inhaled

Particulate matter- Soot, which can cause lung cancer if inhaled excessively

Resources: