Lung Cancer

Posted September 15, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

Like other cancers, lung cancer develops when normal processes of cell division and growth are disrupted, giving way to abnormal, uncontrollable growth. The cells grow into a mass, or tumor.


  • Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke.

  • But lung cancer also occurs in people who never smoked and in those who never had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • In these cases, there may be no clear cause of lung cancer.


  • Coughing that does not improve

  • Hoarseness

  • Blood in phlegm or sputum that is expelled by coughing

  • Weakness

  • Wheezing

  • Infections that return or will not clear

  • Chest pain that gets worse with cough or laugh


  • Usually, concern that a patient may have lung cancer starts as an abnormal finding on a chest imaging study (chest X-ray or CT scan) or when the disease is advanced enough to cause symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and/or weight loss.

  • Diagnosis requires a biopsy, or the removal of cells or tissues from the suspicious mass.

  • Biopsies can be performed through a camera fed through the breathing tubes (called bronchoscopy) or from a needle inserted through the skin into the lung tumor.

  • If these approaches are not successful, surgery may be required for an adequate diagnosis.

  • The biopsy is important in determining whether or not it is cancer, and to determine which type of lung cancer.



  • Chemotherapy is the use of drugs that are designed to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy may be injected directly into a vein (by IV, or intravenously) or given through a catheter, which is a thin tube placed into a large vein and kept there until it is no longer needed.

  • Some chemotherapy drugs are taken orally in pill form.

  • Targeted agents are a newer class of drugs that are designed to act against specific weaknesses in cancer cells or surrounding supportive tissues, such as blood vessels.

  • These drugs can also be taken orally or by IV.

  • They are most effective in cancers with specific changes in their genes or cell receptors.

Radiation therapy

  • Radiation therapy is a form of high energy X-ray that kills cancer cells.

  • It can be used as a primary treatment, or in combination with chemotherapy (with or without surgery).

  • It often can play an important role in advanced cancer patients by providing relief from pain, blockage of the airways, shortness of breath or coughing.


  • Surgery is still considered the gold standard for treating early-stage lung cancer.

  • Removing the tumor and surrounding lung tissue gives the best chance for cure for patients whose disease is localized.

  • Surgery should be performed by specialized thoracic surgeons with particular expertise in treatment of lung cancer and other chest malignancies.

Limited resection

An operation to remove only a small portion of the lung is called a segmental or wedge resection.


Removal of a defined section of the lung, (there are three lobes of the lung on the right and two on the left), is a lobectomy. This is the most common surgery performed for lung cancer.


The removal of an entire lung is called a pneumonectomy.

diseases disorders lung-cancer cancers

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