Non-small cell lung cancer: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Filed in: Health Care Tips.

What is non-small cell lung cancer?

Lung cancer is of two types of small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The most common of these is NSCLC, which accounts for 85 percent of lung cancers and grows slowly and is dangerous compared to small cell lung cancer. The majority of people who develop it are over 65 years old. It is more likely to occur in active and passive smokers.

Non-small cell lung cancerNon-small cell lung cancer

What are the causes of non-small cell cancer?

The exact causes of this disease are not known. But it is more common in smokers or in those who have a lot of exposure to smoke. Therefore, smoking is considered responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer, depending on the number of cigarettes smoked in a day. However, people who do not smoke can also develop non-small cell cancer. It can also run in families.

    Causes of non-small cell cancerCauses of non-small cell cancer

Other causes that can cause non-small cell lung cancer are:

Radon High level of air pollution Products containing formaldehyde and chloride Preservatives, paints, pigments and certain alloys Chemicals such as uranium, coal products, gasoline, mustard gas, beryllium, vinyl chloride, diesel exhaust and nickel chromates. Drinking water containing a high level of arsenic Radiation treatment for chest or chest Asbestos Metal and mineral dust Air pollution HIV and AIDS

What are the symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer?

The worst part is in the early stages, it is possible that there are no symptoms and, therefore, often the disease is confused with a collapsed lung, pneumonia and other diseases.

The symptoms shown include:

Cough that gets worse Pain in the chest that is more in cough, hiccups, deep breathing or coughing. Hoarseness. Rough and rough breathing voices. Wheezing Weightloss. Little appetite The cough may contain mucus or blood. For example, lasting pneumonia or bronchitis.

The spread of cancer to other parts of the body causes:


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Headache Dizziness Problems with balance Numbness in the legs and arms Weakness Yellow eyes and skin Eyelid drooping Nail problem Swelling of the face Joint pain Shoulder pain

The above symptoms may be due to other less serious diseases. Therefore, it is very important to talk to your doctor and have an adequate diagnosis before assuming something.

Diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer.

First, your doctor may ask you certain questions about the first symptoms you noticed, if you have a cough or suffer from wheezing, fatigue or any other type of pain. Things and conditions that aggravate your symptoms. Your occupation, family history, history of any disease or treatment. You will also be asked if you smoke or not. If so, how much do you smoke? And for how long?

After this physical examination is performed and tests are performed. With the help of a stethoscope, your doctor will listen to your chest.

Imaging tests that help your doctor diagnose tumors inside the lungs and the spread of cancer include:

X-ray MRI Ultrasound CT scans Computed tomographies Sputum cytology is performed to check for coarse mucus to detect cancer cells. Thoracentesis is a sample of the fluid that has been accumulating around the chest.

A biopsy is also performed where part of the tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. The ways to perform a biopsy are:

Fine needle aspiration biopsy Bronchoscopy combined with biopsy Biopsy by puncture with computerized tomography Endoscopic esophageal ultrasound (EUS) with biopsy Mediastinoscopy with biopsy Open lung biopsy Pleural biopsy

In the event that the biopsy shows cancer, more imaging tests are done to see how big the tumor is and to know its spread according to which it is divided into five stages:

Hidden stage

Where sputum or lung fluid contains cancer cells, but doctors can not locate where cancer is in their lungs

Stage 0 –

where the cancer has not spread beyond the lining of the lung

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Stage I –

There is a small tumor in a lung that has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage II –

There is a large tumor in one lung and it has spread to some nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III –

Cancer has spread too far from the lymph nodes along with nearby tissues

Stage IV –

The cancer has spread to both the lungs and the fluids that are present around the lungs and other organs of the body.

Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer

Early diagnosis of the disease is beneficial to cure or treat the disease. The treatment is done in two ways.
The treatments depend on the spread of the cancer and the combination of treatments can be suggested.

In the initial stage, surgery is recommended. Chemotherapy drugs are given orally or intravenously before surgery, after surgery or before and after surgery to kill cancer cells and stop the growth of new cells. In cases where the cancer has spread outside the lungs, chemotherapy is given alone. It is very important to prevent complications before and after chemotherapy.

If surgery is not possible, radiotherapy is given along with chemotherapy. In addition, radiation therapy is given to kill the cancer cells that remain after surgery. It is very important to control the symptoms during and after the radiation. To alleviate the symptoms of laser therapy and photodynamic therapy is given.

In addition to the previous treatment, the recommended diet plan for the patient should be followed strictly. The prognosis of the disease depends on the stage of the cancer detected. Stages 1 and 2 show the highest rates of cure and survival, even some cases of non-small cell cancer in stage 3 have been cured. In the case of Stage 4, chemotherapy has been able to prolong life and improve the quality of life.

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