What are the types of lung cancer?

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): The most common form of lung cancer. This category includes three types–squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large-cell carcinoma
  • Small-cell lung cancer: It is a less frequent but a fast-growing cancer
  • Pleural mesothelioma: When abnormal cell growth occurs in the lining that covers the lungs which is called pleura.
  • Secondary lung cancer: When cancer spreads to the lung from a different part of the body

Symptoms of lung cancer

In the early stages of lung cancer, there are often no symptoms. As the disease progresses symptoms can include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Persistent chest infections
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss and tiredness
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Bone pain
  • Headaches

You should seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

Your consultant or oncologist will advise you on which tests are relevant to your individual symptoms. Diagnosing lung cancer involves a range of examinations and tests, some of which may involve a short stay in hospital. Diagnostic tests for lung cancer include:

  • An X-ray
  • A CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • A bronchoscopy, during which a small tube is inserted through your mouth or nose to allow your doctor to look inside the airways of your lungs
  • Sputum cytology, where a sample of your phlegm is taken and tested for cancer
  • A biopsy, where cell samples are taken for examination for signs of cancer
  • A thoracoscopy, which involves a tube being inserted into your chest to take tissue and fluid samples, usually done under general anaesthetic

Treatment of lung cancer

Patients with lung cancer are treated by a specialist multidisciplinary team. This team works together to create a treatment plan to suit the individual needs of the patient.

The type of treatment you will receive for lung cancer depends on several factors, including the type of lung cancer you have, the size and position of the cancer and how far advanced your cancer is. Options include:

  • Surgery
  • A wedge resection removes a portion of the lung that includes the tumour
  • A lobectomy involves removing a lobe of the lung
  • A pneumonectomy involves the removal of an entire lung

Surgical treatments of lung cancer can include thoracic surgery, which would be performed at an alternative hospital. Treatment following surgery is usually carried out at CCL. These options include:

  • Radiotherapy, where high-energy rays are used to destroy the cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy, where chemical agents are used to destroy and prevent cancer cells from spreading to different areas

Find out more about:
First steps for giving up smoking
5 distractions from your cravings
7 steps to reduce your cancer risk

To learn more about lung cancer including diagnosis and treatment visit the MacMillan Cancer Support website.

*Source: NHS Choices

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